Midday Update: Markets Find Support From Possible Break in Ukraine Tensions

Wall Street recovered Friday from overnight lows that followed U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, instead encouraged by a possible break in the stalemate over Ukraine and market-friendly economic data. Utility stocks today also are outperforming on recent decline in Treasury yields, followed by gains in consumer and energy sectors.

Economic data was largely ignored as investors were fixated on global developments. Q2 non-farm productivity jumped 2.5%, beating expectations for a 1.4% gain, although Q1 productivity was revised lower to a 4.5% decline from initial reports of a 3.2% drop.

Q2 unit labor costs also came in below forecasts, rising just 0.6% compared with Street estimates expecting a 1.6% gain. Q1 labor costs also were revised by more than twice the original -- to +11.8% from +5.7% originally.

Wholesale inventories were up by a modest 0.3% in June, missing estimates for a 0.7% gain. Sales rose 0.2% versus estimates of a 0.7% increase.

European markets closed in the red again with UK stocks near its 4-month low despite encouraging developments in Eastern Europe. Bearish EU-zone trade data coupled with pressure on oil stocks exacerbated lingering worries about the impact Russian sanctions will have on the European economy.

Crude oil was up $0.02 to $97.35 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.04 to $3.92 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.60 to $1,313.00 an ounce, while silver was down $0.01 to $19.99 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.18 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.30% to $36.05 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.65% to $21.54. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.74% to 26.94 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 0.05% to $126.24. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.02% to $19.17.

Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 32.27 (+0.30%) to 10,616.06

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 62.44 (+0.38%) to 16,430.71

S&P 500 up 6.78 (+0.36%) to 1,916.35

Nasdaq Composite Index up 7.80 (+0.18%) to 4,342.76


Nikkei 225 Index down 2.98%

Hang Seng Index down 0.23%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.31%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.45%

CAC 40 down 0.05%

DAX down 0.33%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 1.53%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.13%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.21%


(+) TRNX (+13.23%) Posts wider Q2 loss vs street, beats on revenue, guides Q3 FY14 revenue above forecast.

(+) MELI (+15.91%) Reported better than expected Q2 results.

(+) TKMR (+32.37%) WHO declares Ebola international public health emergency.


(-) BID (-9.14%) Missed Q2 earnings and revenue estimates.

(-) IRG (-31.66%) Reported below consensus Q2 revenue and earnings.

(-) UNXL (-9.73%) Reports no sales in Q2.

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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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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