Midday Update: Stocks Pare Gains on Weak Home Sales; Facebook Hits Record High on Strong Earnings

Stocks have trimmed their opening gains following a big miss on new home sales, continuing to trade with modest gains and leaving the S&P 500 index just below its latest record high. Strong earnings from Facebook ( FB ) and Ford ( F ) ahead of the open, coupled with robust manufacturing data out of China and euro-zone countries elevated global equity prices despite lingering geo-political conflicts.

Early advances for U.S. indices were amplified by a significant decline in initial unemployment claims which pushed the S&P 500 just shy of 1,990 soon after the open. But gains were compromised after new home sales fell to a 3-month low of 406,000, much softer than the 475,000 seasonally-adjusted annual rate the Street expected.

In addition to home sales, the final Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for July was revised downward to 56.3 from an initial 57.5 reading and a 57.3 score in June. The consensus estimate had the index staying steady at 57.5.

Also today, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index jumped to a 9.0 reading from 6.0 in June, beating estimates expecting the index to remain unchanged at 6.0.

In global economic news, the IMF lowered its global growth projections for 2014 to 3.4% from 3.7% due to weak U.S. growth in the first quarter of 2014. Forecasts for 2015 are unchanged at 4.0%.

In Europe, markets were buoyed by better-than-expected manufacturing data in China and the EU. The Chinese PMI improved to 52.0 from 50.7 the month prior, while the EU-zone PMI inched up to 51.9 from 51.8. Encouraged by Wednesday's gains in the U.S., European bourses all closed in the green.

Crude oil was down $0.44 to $102.69 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.07 to $3.85 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $15.00 to $1.289.70 an ounce, while silver was down $0.44 to 20.56 an ounce. Copper was up $0.06 to $3.27 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.37% to $38.02 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.88% to $21.16. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.83% to 26.08 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.23% to $124.08. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.11% to $19.66.

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

NYSE Composite Index up 29.29 (+0.27%) to 11,053.19

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 8.93 (+0.05%) to 17,095.56

S&P 500 up 3.15 (+0.16%) to 1,990.16

Nasdaq Composite Index up 7.21 (+0.16%) to 4,480.91


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.29%

Hang Seng Index up 0.71%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.28%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.34%

CAC 40 up 0.78%

DAX up 0.42%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.58%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.46%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.06%


(+) LOGI (+15.75%) Beat Q1 estimates, boosted operating income outlook.

(+) FB (+7.43%) Beat earnings estimates by $0.10 and topped revenue expectations.

(+) GRUB (+5.16%) Q3 Revenue guidance above street, posts Q2 EPS miss but beats on revenue.

(+) UA (+15.72%) Beat earnings estimates by $0.01, raises outlook.


(-) ANGI (-20.40%) Reported a Q2 loss of $0.31/share vs estimates for $0.24 loss, revenue miss.

(-) TRIP (-9.12%) Misses Q2 revenue estimates.

(-) IVC (-15.30%) Posts wider Q2 loss vs estimates, beats on revenue, CEO Gerald B. Blouch to retire.

(-) CLFD (-16.09%) Reported worse-than-expected Q3 results

(-) CCMP (-6.43%) Reported EPS of $0.53 per share missing analyst estimates of $0.63 per share.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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