Mid-Day Update: Stocks Roller Coaster into Red; Gold Falls Below $1,800 an Ounce
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE down 34.62 (-0.48%) to 7,174.97
-DJIA down 29.14 (-0.26%) to 11,147.62
-S&P 500 down 3.27 (-0.28%) to 1,158.68
-Nasdaq down 19.80 (-0.81%) to 2,426.26
Nikkei down 1.1%.
Hang Seng down 2%.
Shanghai Composite down 0.5%.
FTSE-100 up 0.8%.
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy down 1.24% at 11,597.73
NYSE Financial down 0.37% at 4,040.48
NYSE Health Care down 3.13% at 6,610.58
NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 1.08% at 996.92
(+) RENN (+0.7%) inks strategic tie-up with MSN China.
(+) TOL (+2.3%) EPS beats, revenue misses.
(+) SIGA (+4.9%) secures grant to develop antiviral drugs for Arenavirus.
(+) AVGO (+8.1%) continues evening gain that followed earnings beat.
(+) CVS (+1.5) sets buyback.
(+) BAC (+7.6%) adds to recent slide on loan, capital concerns.
(-) S (-2.4%) reports say carrier to sell iPhone.
(-) AEO (-12.4%) misses with EPS as sales beat, guidance straddles Street view.
(-) UTHR (-18.2%) downgraded.
(-) BHP (-1.1%) misses with results.
(-) TCAP (-6.8%) pricing shares.
(-) RCL (-0.3%) downgraded.
(-) LZB (-3.8%) continues evening slide that followed earnings report.
Stocks have plunged into the red after briefly recovering from opening bell losses to trade positive, as investors continue to weigh mixed economic signals from around the globe. Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke's speech on Friday remains the week's main event.
In early trading, mixed domestic durable goods data and an upbeat government report on the US deficit provided support. The closely tracked measure of core capital goods sales, however, showed a 1.5% drop in July. Stocks held gains after a report showing that U.S. home prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in June, but are still down 4.3% in the past year. The price increase in May was unrevised at 0.4%.
Separately, the Congressional Budget Office said the recent budget deal will slice projected government deficits nearly in half over the next 10 years, Reuters reported. But Moody's downgraded Japan's debt rating to Aa3 from Aa2, citing large deficits and the buildup in government debt since the global recession in 2009, according to news reports.
Moody's said in May it was putting Japan's local and foreign- currency bond ratings on review for possible downgrade. At the time it cited long-term fiscal concerns as well as costs related to rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
Moody's noted that Japan's debt situation looked bad when measured against international standards. The International Monetary Fund's projections for 2011 put Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio at 233%, while home-grown estimates put out by the Cabinet Office put the level at 181%.
Gold futures are trading below $1,800 an ounce, while oil is holding gains above $85 a barrel.
In company news:
Sprint Nextel ( S ) continues to firm in the wake of a report issued late Tuesday saying the wireless carrier will begin selling Apple's ( AAPL ) iPhone. Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal says Sprint would begin selling the iPhone 4 as well as the not-yet-announced iPhone 5 in mid-October. The same sources also indicated that the new iPhone would launch on AT&T ( T ) and Verizon VZ ( VZ ) around that time. VZ and T are so far lightly traded in the pre-market session.
Shares of ConocoPhilips ( COP ) are down after Reuters reported that the U.S. oil major is evaluating the impact of its oil spill in China's Bohai Bay. COP said, according to the report, the it has not yet received any claims for the incident. State media reports indicated that fisherman in the area were set to sue COP for killing large numbers of scallops in the bay.
Shares of Pharmasset (VRUS) are higher after it said it received fast track status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for PSI-938 for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Shares of Bank of America (BAC) have surged in the regular session while a Bloomberg report indiciated the bank - the largest by assets-- dismissed rumors that its looking at a merger with smaller bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM). Citing a memo to employees, the report quoted the bank's communications department calling the rumor "baseless."
Shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT) are higher after Bloomberg reported the drug maker was sued by MedImmune in a fight over the distribution of drugs designed to fight respiratory tract infections. MedImmune, which is a unit of AstraZeneca (AZN), said Abbott reneged on an agreement to pursue approval in the European market for distribution of MedIummune's drug Numax, the report said.
Shares of Google (GOOG) are higher as the Internet giant said it would shell out $500 million to settle a U.S. government investigation into its distribution of online advertisements from Canadian pharmacies selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to American consumers. With the settlement, Google will not face criminal prosecution, The Wall Street Journal noted in a report on the matter.
In earnings news:
--Synovis Life Technologies (SYNO) says Q3 sales were a record $21 million, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $20.5 million. It earned $0.17 per share, two cents above forecasts.
--American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) reported Q2 EPS of $0.10 compared to $0.13 a year earlier and a penny shy of the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.11. Total sales for the quarter increased 4% to $676 million, compared to $652 million last year. That tops the Street view for $648 million. Second quarter comparable store sales were flat, compared to a 1% decrease last year. The company guides for Q3 EPS of $0.22 to $0.27. The Street is at $0.26.
Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are down 4% to $1,787 an ounce while October crude oil contacts are up 0.53% to $85.98 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.33% to $33.31 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.2%, to $9.88.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 2.2% to $173.77. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 3.38% to $59.41. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.9% to $39.45.
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