Mid-Day Update: Stocks Lower Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Investors Eye North Korea Developments
Stocks are lower in mid-day trading as markets add to Friday's slump following a credit downgrade from Moody's. Investors are also watching developments in North Korea, where controversial leader Kim Jong-il died over the weekend.
Overseas, Asian stocks fell, with some indexes down sharply, as a leadership change could bring instability or a military struggle for control.
Also, European finance ministers are scheduled to partake in a conference call today to discuss the draft of a new euro-zone "fiscal compact." According to European Union officials, this fiscal plan will be finalized by the end of January. Stateside, the economic calendar is thin.
In company news:
Wells Fargo & Co. ( WFC ) agreed to buy Burdale Financial Holdings from the Bank of Ireland ( IRE ). The portfolio of Burdale Capital Finance represents approximately $1 billion in loans outstanding from U.S. and U.K. customers, the company said in a statement.
ADRs of Bayer AG ( BAYRY ) are down as the European Commission approved the drug maker's Xarelto for us in stroke prevention. The move allows Bayer to enter the largest regional market for the pill, according to a Reuters report on the matter.
Broadcom ( BRCM ) today announced that the United States District Court for the Central District of California has ruled in favor of the company against Emulex ( ELX ) for infringing on two Broadcom patents. The court also rejected Emulex's challenge to the validity of the patents, as well as its challenge to an earlier damages award for one of the patents.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares are down as Bloomberg reports that the U.S. oil major appointed HSBC Holdings (HBC) to advise on a $5 billion elastomers project at Jubail in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East Economic Digest reported.
Las Vegas (LVS) shares are lower following a weekend report that Hong Kong regulators concluded an investigation of the company's Sands China unit. Securities regulators will not take action against the company, according to a Dow Jones Newswire report.
Commodities are higher as February gold contracts are up $6 to $1,603 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up $0.65 to $94.18 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.5% to 36.08 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.6% to 6.78.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.3% to 154.71. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is 1.9% to $51.69. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.5% to $28.10.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-DJIA down 50.52 (-0.4%) to 11,815.87
-S&P 500 off 7.49 (-0.61%) to 1,212.39
-Nasdaq down 9.5 (-0.37%) to 2,545.83
Nikkei down 1.21%
Hang Seng down 1.18%
Shanghai Composite down 0.30%
FTSE-100 up 0.12%
DAX-30 up 1.12%
(+) SAP, (+0.3%) Extends Offer to Buy Remaining Shares of SuccessFactors
(+) TEF, (+0.5%) Downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC
(+) WINN, (+71%) Merging with BI-LO
(-) PDLI, (-2.1% ) Sees Revenue Below Expectations for Q4
(-) HEI, (-1.4%) HEICO Downgraded to Hold from Buy at Auriga