Midday Update: Stocks Holding On To Slight Gains As FOMC Meeting Begins

Stocks are holding on to slim gains this afternoon, led by advances in the financial sector as the likelihood for an aggressive tapering by the Fed diminishes following more sluggish economic data. Volume is stifled by the importance of the meeting although the overall mood appears cautiously optimistic.

Today's economic data underscored the slowdown in the U.S. economic rebound as consumer prices increased by a less than expected 0.1%. And while the U.S. housing market still appear robust, the National Association of Home Builders today said their housing market index fell slightly to 58 during September from an eight-year high of 59 reported last month.

In Europe, stocks were higher early on in response to strong investor confidence with the ZEW Economic sentiment index surging more than 10 points to 58.6. Into the NY open, however, European bourses started to drift lower as investors retreated to the sidelines into the FOMC meeting.

Crude oil was down $0.76 to $105.83 per barrel. Natural gas was unchanged at $3.82 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $6.40 to $1,311.30 an ounce, while silver was down $0.17 to $21.84 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.22 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down $0.24 to $37.87 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.21% to $19.63. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.49% to 25.58 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.03% to $126.49. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.30% to $21.00.

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

NYSE Composite Index up 19.11 (+0.20%) to 9,723.58

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 39.44 (+0.25%) to 15,534.22

S&P 500 up 5.54 (+0.33%) to 1,703.14

Nasdaq Composite Index up 21.28 (+0.57%) to 3,739.13


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.65%

Hang Seng Index down 0.31%

Shanghai China Composite down 2.05%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.67%

CAC 40 down 0.16%

DAX down 0.15%


NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.39%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.05%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.03%


(+) ARO (17.1%) Sycamore Partners acquires a 7.96% stake in the teen apparel retailer.

(+) MSFT (+1.0%) The software giant boosts its quarterly dividend to $0.28 per share and approves a $40 billion buyback program.

(+) SWY (+8.0%) The grocery chain adopts a "poison pill" plan with a 10% trigger after noting an "accumulation of a significant amount of (its) common stock."


(-) COTY (-4.3%) The company reports improved Q4 earnings but expects net revenue for Q1 to "marginally decline" due to slowdown in market growth in the U.S. and Europe.

(-) OUTR (-13.63%) Cuts Q3 and FY guidance as Redbox rentals failed to meet expectations.

(-) LYG (-3.2%) UK government offers to sell 6% stake in the bank.

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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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