Stocks are higher in mid-day trading while investors await word from the Federal Reserve on interest rates and digest retail sales data, which showed slowing ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Investors continue to keep a wary eye on Europe's debt crisis, but today are more anxious over the scheduled Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy meeting, at 2:15 pm Eastern.
The International Energy Agency said on Tuesday that it has lowered its forecasts for global oil demand for 2011 and 2012 by 160,000 barrels a day and 200,000 barrels a day, respectively. The agency cites the "more precarious economic backdrop" and weaker fourth-quarter data.
Retail spending in the U.S. tapered off in November, with sales rising 0.2% compared to 0.6% in October, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected retail sales to rise by 0.5% overall, or by 0.4% excluding the auto sector.
In company news:
Bank of America ( BAC ) shares are higher while the Boston Globe reports that the bank came in last on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a customer service survey published by ACSI LLC.
Best Buy ( BBY ) reports Q3 revenue of $12.09 bln, about in line with the analyst consensus of $12.14 bln on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.47, vs. expectations of $0.51 per share. The company confirmed its full year earnings view of $3.35 to $3.65 per share. The Street is at $3.44 per share.
Apple ( AAPL ) is higher on a report following a report that the tech firm is in advanced talks to buy Israel-based Anobit, a flash storage company. The price tag is as much as $500 million.
Shares of ConocoPhillips ( COP ) are higher while Bloomberg reports that a unit of the oil major is getting sued by 100 CHinese fisherman seeking $77 million in compensation after an oil spill in June, citing the official Xinhua news agency.
Merck & Co. ( MRK ) has gained rights to develop and sell a diabetes drug from Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. Merck shares are up 0.4% in mid-day trade. The diabetes drug is in the early stages of development. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dish Network Corp. (DISH) shares are up while the company may partner with T-Mobile USA if AT&T Inc.'s (T) takeover bid fails, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Commodities are higher as February gold contracts are down $2.20 to $1,666.00 an ounce while January crude oil contracts are up $2.14 to $99.91 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.82% to $38.58 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.42%, to $7.17.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.4% to $161.34. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.3% to $55.09. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.5% to $30.33.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE up 21.37 (0.29%) to 7,384.86
-DJIA up 56.57 (0.47%) to 12,077.96
-S&P 500 up 4.80 (0.39%) to 1,241.27
-Nasdaq up 3.41 (0.13%) to 2,615.67
Nikkei down 1.17%
Hang Seng down 0.69%
Shanghai Composite down 1.87%
FTSE-100 up 1.15%
DAX-30 down 0.19%
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy up 0.9% at 12,295.21
NYSE Financial down 0.1% at 3,991.73
NYSE Health Care up 0.6% at 6,807.60
NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.1% at 1,087.34
(+) YMI, (+13.7%) Jumps on Positive Results from Myelofibrosis Treatment Study
(+)PCX, (+0.1%) Initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
(+)AGNC, (+0.9%) Initiated with a Buy at Nomura
(+)CAS, (+2%) Prices Offering of Notes
(+)DD,( +0.6%) Sees 2012 Results In Line with Expectations
(-)TOL, (-2.6%) Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
(-)BBY, (-11.5%) Q3 Earnings Below Expectations
(-)IVN, (-15.5%) Arbitrator Upholds Rio Tinto Claim
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