Mid-Day Market Update: Crude Oil Up 1.5%; Alliqua Biomedical Shares Slide

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Midway through trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 0.21 percent to 20,657.73 while the NASDAQ rose 0.22 percent to 5,888.10. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.05 percent to 2,359.67.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

On Wednesday, the energy sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. (NYSE: HOS ) and Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK ).

In trading on Wednesday, financial shares fell 0.15 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Fang Holdings Ltd (NYSE: SFUN ), down 5 percent, and Citizens, Inc. (NYSE: CIA ), down 3 percent.

Top Headline

Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX ) reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter on Wednesday.

Paychex posted Q3 earnings of $0.56 per share on revenue of $795.8 million. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.54 per share on revenue of $799.0 million.

Equities Trading UP

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX ) shares shot up 23 percent to $110.58 after the company disclosed that two Phase 3 studies of the tezacaftor/ivacaftor combo treatment for CF met primary endpoints. BMO Capital upgraded Vertex Pharma from Market Perform to Outperform.

Shares of Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: TNXP ) got a boost, shooting up 47 percent to $6.10. Tonix Pharma will present the FDA Breakthrough Therapy-designated PTSD program at The MicroCap Conference on April 4, 2017.

Exar Corporation (NYSE: EXAR ) shares were also up, gaining 23 percent to $13.02 after the company agreed to be acquired by MaxLinear, Inc. (NYSE: MXL ) for $13 per share in cash.

Equities Trading DOWN

Alliqua Biomedical Inc (NASDAQ: ALQA ) shares dropped 31 percent to $0.429. Alliqua BioMedical priced its 9.375 million share offering at $0.40 per share.

Shares of Atossa Genetics Inc (NASDAQ: ATOS ) were down around 28 percent to $0.785 after the company reported the pricing of its $4,000,000 public offering.

Quorum Health Corp (NYSE: QHC ) was down, falling around 14 percent to $5.50 after the company posted disappointing Q4 results.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.55 percent to $49.12 while gold traded down 0.32 percent to $1,254.80.

Silver traded down 0.09 percent Wednesday to $18.24, while copper rose 0.06 percent to $2.68.


European shares were mostly higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 gained 0.32 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.30 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell 0.29 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 0.49 percent, and the French CAC 40 rose 0.38 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.32 percent.


The pending home sales index increased 5.5 percent for February, versus economists' expectations for a 2.4 percent growth

Crude inventories increased 900,000 barrels to 534 million barrels in the latest week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts expected a gain of 300,000 barrels. Gasoline supplies declined 3.7 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles slipped 2.5 million barrels last week.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams is set to speak in New York at 1:15 p.m. ET.

The Treasury will auction 7-year notes at 1:00 p.m. ET.

© 2017 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: PAYX , VRTX , CHK , CIA

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