Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Lower; ConAgra Posts Lower FQ1 Profit

Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.13 percent to 15,656.72 while the NASDAQ declined 0.02 percent to 3,782.72. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.06 percent to 1,724.52.

Top Headline ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG ) reported a 42% drop in its fiscal first-quarter earnings.

ConAgra's quarterly profit fell to $144.3 million, or $0.34 per share, from $250.1 million, or $0.61 per share, in the year-ago period. Its earnings from continuing operations came in at $0.33 per share. Excluding one-time items, its earnings declined to $0.37 from $0.44 per share.

Its revenue surged 27% to $4.2 billion, missing analysts' estimates of $4.29 billion.

Equities Trading UP Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD ) shot up 12.94 percent to $4.19 after the company posted a profit in its fiscal second quarter.

Shares of GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT ) got a boost, shooting up 12.52 percent to $8.49. UBS upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy.

Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A ) was also up, gaining 6.42 percent to $52.49 after the company announced its plans to separate into two public companies.

Equities Trading DOWN Shares of Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR ) were down 10.34 percent to $21.16 after the company reported a 32% drop in its fiscal second-quarter earnings and cut its full-year earnings forecast.

Popular (NASDAQ: BPOP ) shares tumbled 5.54 percent to $27.48 after the stock from Equal-weight to Underweight.

Pacific Coast Oil Trust (NYSE: ROYT ) down, falling 7.13 percent to $16.70 after the company priced a public offering by Pacific Coast Energy Company LP and other selling unitholders of 13,500,000 trust units at a price of $17.10 per unit.

Commodities In commodity news, to $107.55, while gold traded up 4.18 percent to $1,362.20.

Silver traded up 7.35 percent Thursday to $23.15, while copper rose 2 percent to $3.34.

Eurozone European shares today. The Spanish Ibex Index gained 1.07 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index rose 1.24 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX gained 0.77 percent and the French CAC 40 rose 0.67 percent while U.K. shares surged 1.37 percent.

Economics US jobless claims rose by 15,000 to 309,000 in the week ended September 14. However, economists were expecting claims to rise to 338,000.

US current-account deficit declined around 6% to $98.9 billion in the second quarter.

The Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index rose to -29.40 in the week ended September 15, versus a prior reading of -32.10.

Existing-home sales climbed 1.7% to an annual rate of 5.48 million in August.

The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index surged to 22.3 in September, versus a reading of 9.3 in August.

The Conference Board's index of leading indicators climbed 0.7% to 96.6 in August.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills. The Treasury will also auction 2-year, 5-year and 7-year notes.

Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.

(c) 2013 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.

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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