Stocks are holding onto modest gains today, with expectations of continued low borrowing costs, cheap energy and global economic growth all contributing to positive market action. Upbeat earnings this morning from Ford ( F ) and Dow component 3M ( MMM ), coupled with expectations the Federal Reserve will continue to hold off on tapering its monthly bond purchases until next year was driving Treasury yields lower and stock indices higher.
Global equity markets all rose today following a better-than-expected Chinese purchasing managers index and signs of continued resilience in European manufacturing as PMIs throughout the euro-zone remain above the expansionary 50.0 level for the fourth consecutive month.
Today's economic data from the U.S. were largely non-events with initial jobless claims falling by 12,000 to 350,000 new claims. The market consensus was expecting 335,000 new claims.
The trade deficit narrowed 0.7% to $38.8 billion in August, beating estimates for a slight increase to a $40.0 billion deficit.
Finally, the Markit flash purchasing managers index for October fell to 51.1 from a final read of 52.8 in September. This is below forecasts for a slight decline in the index to 52.7.
Crude oil was down $0.64 to $96.22 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $3.80 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $9.20 to $1,343.30 an ounce, while silver was up $0.11 to $22.73 an ounce. Copper was down $0.01 to $3.26 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.77% to $34.68 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.70% to $18.38. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 2.62% to 25.89 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.89% to $129.83. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.78% to $21.92.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 29.58 (+0.30%) to 10,019.91
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 83.24 (+0.54%) to 15,496.57
S&P 500 up 4.70 (+0.27%) to 1,751.08
Nasdaq Composite Index up 19.16 (+0.49%) to 3,926.24
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.42%
Hang Seng Index down 0.71%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.86%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.58%
CAC 40 up 0.35%
DAX up 0.68%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.41%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.23%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index unchanged
(+) MDSO (+15.4%) Posts profit of $0.40 per share, ex one-time items, beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.07 per share. Revenue of $70.9 million also topped expectations.
(+) MCK (+7.7%) Agrees to acquire majority stake in German company Celesio for $8.3 billion; Also reports fiscal Q2 earnings, revenue that beat estimates with EPS of $2.27 on $33 billion in revenue.
(+) FANG (5.6%) FY14 natural gas and oil production is expected to double over current-year levels to a daily average of between 15.0 million and 16.0 million barrels of oil equivalent.
(-) KFN (-8.0%) Downgraded by analysts at FBR Capital to Market Perform from Outperform.
(-) FIO (-25.2%) Reported a fiscal first-quarter loss with a deep drop in revenueSYMC (-11.60%) Posts mixed Q2 results with Q3 guidance below street estimates
(-) XRX (-8.2%) Beat EPS estimates but revenues of $5.26 billion were below consensus of $5.34 billion.
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