Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; Opko Settles With SEC

Following the market opening Friday, the Dow traded up 0.20 percent to 23,185.17 while the NASDAQ climbed 0.14 percent to 6,588.77. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.26 percent to 2,495.28.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Friday morning, the utilities shares slipped by just 0.5 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Azure Power Global Ltd (NYSE: AZRE ) up 4 percent, and Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S.A. - Eletrobras (NYSE: EBR ) up 6 percent.

In trading on Friday, consumer discretionary shares fell 2.5 percent.

Top Headline

Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK ) and its Chairman and CEO Philip Frost announced an agreement with the SEC to resolve the action brought against the former two.

The company, though not admitting or denying SEC's allegations, agreed to an injunction from certain violations of the SEC Act of 1934, a $100,000 penalty and performing certain undertakings related to the Act. Frost, on his part, has agreed to pay $5.5 million in penalty, disgorgement, and prejudgment interest, and a prohibition, with certain exceptions, from trading in penny stocks

Equities Trading UP

Quantum Corp (NYSE: QTM ) shares got a boost, shooting up 30 percent to $1.95 after the company secured $210 million in long-term financing to repay outstanding debt.

Shares of Ability Inc (NASDAQ: ABIL ) shot up 24 percent to $2.19 after the company announced its outstanding line of credit will be repaid and converted into equity.

Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA ) shares were also up, gaining 10 percent to $6.14 after Green Growth Brands announced it intends to launch a takeover of the company for C$11 per share.

Equities Trading DOWN

Obalon Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OBLN ) shares dropped 13 percent to $2.26 after the company announced two financing agreements that would provide access to $30 million in capital. The company said it has entered into a common stock purchase agreement and registration rights agreement with Chicago-based Lincoln Park Capital Fund for up to $20 million. Separately, the company entered into an at-the-market equity sales agreement with Canaccord Genuity to issue common shares from treasury, at prevailing market prices, to raise gross proceeds of up to $10 million.

Shares of Uxin Limited (NASDAQ: UXIN ) were down 16 percent to $5.53 after dropping 20.7 percent on Thursday.

ReShape Lifesciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RSLS ) was down, falling around 34 percent to $0.2258 after Nasdaq notified the company its shares will be delisted.


In commodity news, oil traded up 0.58 percent to $44.87 while gold traded down 0.02 percent to $ 1,280.90.

Silver traded up 0.42 percent Friday to $15.375, while copper rose 1.07 percent to $2.6965.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 climbed 1.74 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index gained 1.26 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index jumped 1.51 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX climbed 1.85 percent, and the French CAC 40 climbed 1.67 percent while U.K. shares rose 1.68 percent.


The Chicago PMI dropped to 65.40 for December, versus prior reading of 66.40. However, economists were expecting a reading of 63.00.

The pending home sales index declined 0.7 percent to 101.4 for November.

The Energy Information Administration's weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is schedule for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The EIA's weekly report on petroleum inventories will be released at 11:00 a.m. ET.

The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the recent week is schedule for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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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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