Stocks Pare Some Early Losses; S&P 500 Dips Briefly Below March Low
Stocks have bounced off session lows but are still in the red at the session's half. With no economic reports due today, investors focused on a steady stream of corporate news, including the Apple's ( AAPL ) developer conference due to get underway today. Earlier in the day, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index briefly dipped below its March low, MarketWatch reported, with investors watching if additional support levels would be breached.
Meanwhile, crude oil futures slipped below $100 a barrel. Gold gained through the morning.
In company news:
Goldman Sachs Group (GS) today announced that it has agreed to sell Litton Loan Servicing to Ocwen Financial ( OCN ) for $264 million, which does not reflect certain assets that GS will retain. According to GS, it does not expect the sale to have any material impact on earnings in the second quarter due to the combination of the sales price and the impairment charge announced in the first quarter of 2011 primarily related to Litton.
RXi Pharmaceuticals ( RXII ) is sharply higher after it said updated data from its Phase 2 clinical trial of NeuVax shows statistical significance in 3-year Disease Free Survival ( DFS ) in adjuvant breast cancer, with 0% recurrence in the treated group versus 22.2% in the untreated group.
Shares of Valero Energy ( VLO ) are trending lower following a Reuters report that the refiner said it is continuing to work toward closing the acquisition of Chevron's (CVX) Pembroke refinery in Wales. Four people were killed and one was injured at the refinery after an explosion on June 3.
Apple's ( AAPL ) shares are higher. The company's San Francisco presentation begins with a keynote address at 1 p.m. ET, featuring Chief Executive Steve Jobs and other executives. Analysts don't expect any new iPhone announcements. The focus is expected to be on the next versions of Apple's iOS and Mac OSX operating systems and a new service called iCloud, according to news reports.
Shares of Harley-Davidson (HOG) are higher after UBS Investment Research initiated the company with a short-term "buy" with a $39 price target, noting that May sales for the brand are up 10% year-over-year, according to MarketWatch.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares are higher after Bloomberg reported the bank is looking to dismiss a $6.4 billion lawsuit by the trustee handling the liquidation of the firm once owned by Bernard Madoff. The bank says the trustee does not have the right to sue on behalf of Madoff's investors, the report says.
ArthroCare (ARTC) today announced that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Spartan 6.5 Needled Anchor, a preloaded threaded anchor indicated for use in fixation of soft tissue to bone, such as during a rotator cuff shoulder repair. This needled version is utilized for open repairs, while the non-needled version, for which FDA clearance has previously been received, is for arthroscopic repairs.
Commodities are mixed. August gold contracts are up 0.69%, to $1,553 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are down 0.64% to $99.57 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.91% to $39.30 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 3.02%, to $12.29.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.7% at $151.26. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.46% to $56.23. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 2.18% to $36.12.