Midday Update: Stocks Retreat As Budget Deal Seen As Taper-Friendly

Wall Street is retreating back into the minus column with the financial markets reacting negatively to the tentative agreement last night between House Republicans and Senate Democrats on a new federal budget. The mood soured soon after the opening bell as investors consider whether the deal will now be the motivation the Federal Reserve needs to begin tapering its monthly asset purchase program. Despite pockets of strength in consumer staples and tech stocks, the broader markets are under pressure from weakness in the energy, financial and industrial sectors.

Global equities also were hurt by taper-jitters in the U.S. with most of the major market indices overseas closing in the red. Europe had the added burden of an uncertain interest-rate environment as sluggish EU-zone economic data still fails to push ECB President Mario Draghi to introduce more stimulus measures.

Crude oil was down $0.50 to $98.00 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $4.22 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $4.20 to $1,257.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.06 to $20.35 an ounce. Copper was down $0.01 to $3.28 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.40% to $35.17 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.48% to $20.66. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.90% to 21.78 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.42% to $121.31. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.28% to $19.61.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 74.39 (-0.74%) to 10040.28

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 93.06 (-0.58%) to 15880.07

S&P 500 down 14.04 (-0.78%) to 1788.58

Nasdaq Composite Index down 36.18 (-0.89%) to 4024.31


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.62%

Hang Seng Index down 1.71%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.49%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.24%

CAC 40 down 0.10%

DAX down 0.41%


Energy Sector Index down 0.90%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.89%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.84%


(+) CYTR (+55.4%) Released encouraging results from Phase IIb testing the efficacy and safety of its aldoxorubicin cancer treatment in treating patients with soft tissue sarcomas.

(+) VLP (+22.1%) Well-received IPO drives the stock above its $23.00-per-share initial pricing.

(+) ECTE (+20.5%) Announces 10-year strategic collaboration with Medical Technologies Innovation Asia for a licensing agreement for the company's Symphony CGM System in China. Deal includes equity investment by Medical Tech.


(-) LH (-10.4%) Stock is reduced to Hold from Buy by analysts at Canaccord Genuity, who also cut their price target by $24 to $91 a share.

(-) GEVO (-26.5%) Announced plans to sell an undisclosed number of its common stock units and senior note units.

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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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