Markets

Midday Update: Stocks Buoyed by Fading Expectations For Fed Interest-Rate Increase

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Stocks were posting impressive gains Monday despite economic data showing activity in the services sector slowed during September as expectations for the Federal Reserve to refrain from raising U.S. rates was elevating the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a two-week high and the S&P 500 to its fifth consecutive day on the plus side.

A pair of indices - one, from the Institute for Supply Management, and the other measuring purchasing manager sentiment - both declined compared with month-ago levels during September, also missing Wall Street expectations. The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to a 56.9 reading this month from 59.0 in August, lagging market estimates looking for a 58.0 reading. The final September reading for the Purchasing Managers' services sector index came in at 55.1, down from 56.1 August reading and trailing the consensus view expecting a 55.8 score.

Also, the Labor Market Conditions Index dropped to a 0.0 reading this month from a downwardly revised 1.2 reading in August.

In corporate news, American Apparel ( APP ) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Twitter ( TWTR ) made Jack Dorsey's appointment to CEO official, while Potash ( POT ) abandoned its bid for German competitor K+S Aktiengesellschaft.

In Europe, equity markets rallied by as much as 3% on the heels of Friday's big advance for U.S. stocks as well as expectations for additional central bank accommodation following downbeat EU-zone and Chinese economic data.

Crude oil was up $1.25 to $46.78 per barrel. Natural gas was up 2 cents to $2.47 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $1.30 to $1,135.30 per ounce, while silver was up 36 cents to $15.62 per ounce. Copper was up 3 cents to $2.35 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 2.23% to $15.09 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.71% to $11.36. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 3.93% to 15.06 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.25% to $108.72. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.34% to $14.89.

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

NYSE Composite Index up 152.48 (+1.53%) to 10,126.04

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 222.72 (+1.35%) to 16,695.09

S&P 500 up 26.93 (+1.38%) to 1,978.29

Nasdaq Composite Index up 48.23 (+1.02%) to 4,756.00

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index +1.58%

Hang Seng Index up 1.62%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.48%

FTSE 100 Index up 2.76%

CAC 40 up 3.54%

DAX up 2.74%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 2.80%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 1.84%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.32%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CTRV (+126.38%) Disclosed preliminary data on CMX157, the company's lipid prodrug of the successful antiviral drug tenofovir, in the treatment of Hepatitis B.

(+) WG (+32.39%) TRC Companies ( TRR ) buys Willbros' professional services for $130 mln

(+) ONCE (+25.92%) Phase 3 trial of SPK-RPE65 meets primary endpoint

(+) FOLD (+10.17%) Upgraded at Chardan Capital to buy from neutral

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SIEN (-20.35%) Brazil regulatory agency suspends manufacturing by

Sientra partner Silimed

(-) VRX (-10.80%) Sunday New York Times article criticized the company's strategy to buy existing drugs and aggressively hike prices to make profits for its shareholders

(-) PTCT (-8.06%) Second phase of Spinal Muscular Atrophy program trial showed potentially positive results

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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