Mid-Day Update: Stocks Lower as Europe Concern Weighs; Moody's Evaluate Europe Ratings in 2012

Stocks are down in mid-day trading while questions rose anew about whether steps taken by euro-zone leaders at the end of last week would effectively stem the debt crisis there.

The deal announced Friday made tougher fiscal rules binding on euro-zone nations and levied automatic sanctions for those countries that violate them. Still, analysts have been skeptical about the ability of the measures to fix high short-term borrowing costs for countries carrying high debt loads.

Also, Moody's said today that it will take another look at European Union credit ratings during the first quarter of 2012, MarketWatch reports.

The U.S.economic calendarwas light today.

In company news:

Diamond Foods ( DMND ) is down following a WSJ report noting some walnut growers are challenging Diamond's explanation of mysterious payments to the the growers. The alleged payments have stalled Diamond's attempts to acquire Pringles from Procter & Gamble for $2.35 bln.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) are down while TecCrunch reports that the company may create webOS-run tablet computers in 2013. HP - along with other computer makers - joined the tablet fray in the wake of Apple's ( AAPL ) iPad.

Bank of America shares are down as the bank's Merrill Lynch unit is partnering up with Tora Trading to launch a new platform targeted at fund managers in Asia, Reuters reported. Finding liquidity in volatile market conditions is a major concern in Asia, the report said.

Endo Pharmaceuticals ( ENDP ) shares are higher as the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new formulation of Opana ER designed to be crush-resistant. Endo also announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will issue a patent covering the new formulation of Opana ER and is expected to provide protection until November 2023. The new patent will be listed in the FDA's Orange Book with respect to the new formulation of Opana ER.

Shares of ConocoPhillips ( COP ) are down while Reuters reports the U.S. oil major made a find of natural gas in the southern North Sea but that further tests are needed to determine if it is worth developing.

Commodities are down as February gold contracts are down $51.20 to $1,665.60 an ounce while January crude oil contracts are down $1.67 to $97.74 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.90% to $37.77 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 2.31%, to $7.18.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 3.0% to $161.44. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 4.4% to $55.26. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 3.8% to $30.15.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 187.60 (2.50%) to 7,315.28

-DJIA down 229.59 (1.88%) to 11,954.67

-S&P 500 down 26.09 (2.08%) to 1,229.10

-Nasdaq down 50.41 (1.90%) to 2,596.44


Nikkei up 1.37%

Hang Seng down 0.06%

Shanghai Composite down 1.02%

FTSE-100 down 1.58%

DAX-30 down 3.36%


NYSE Energy down 3.4% at 12,096.55

NYSE Financial down 3.4% at 3,971.02

NYSE Health Care down 1.3% at 6,754.60

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 2.3% at 1,082.03


(-) AVGO, (-4.6%) Downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley

(-) TOT, (-3.3%) Acquires Additional Shares in Novatek, Increases Stake to


(-) PDLI, (-1.0%) CFO resigns

(-) DMND, (-19.6%) Walnut growers question payments

(-) ONXX, (-5.4%) FDA Rejects Accelerated Approval Pathway for Myeloma Drug

(-) DD, (-2.7%) Buyout Firms Interested in DuPont's Performance Coatings Unit

(-) CRM, (-6.7%) Downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Cowen

(-) TXN, (-3.2%) Initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley

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

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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.

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