Major market U.S. averages are straddling the flatline as Wall Street braces for the 2 pm ET announcement from President Donald Trump regarding U.S. participation in the Iranian nuclear deal.
Volatility in the oil market erupted midday Tuesday on conflicting headlines from CNN and the NY Times surrounding the Iranian deal, resulting in a tug-of-war between buyers and sellers in both oil futures and equity assets. Once the dust settled, West Texas intermediate crude was still more than 2% lower, the energy sector trimmed its losses by more than half, and the Dow was left marginally lower.
As a result of the defensive posture on Wall Street Tuesday, Dow laggards are leading advancers by a 3-to-1 ratio, and all but two of the eleven S&P 500 sectors are in the red.
Besides Trump's decision on Iran, Wall Street is also focused on Q1 earnings and merger activity. Comcast ( CMCSA ) is reportedly preparing a hostile bid for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) to beat Disney's ( DIS ) $52.4 billion offer. Reports claim the cable company could offer as much as $60 billion in cash for Fox's film and TV studios, cable networks and the company's 39% stake in Sky PLC.
Also, Takeda Pharmaceutical finally won its bidding war for Ireland's Shire PLC ( SHPG ) with its $61.5 billion dollar offer, making this the largest offshore Japanese acquisition and one of the largest pharmaceutical mergers on record.
In earnings, SeaWorld ( SEAS ) reported a narrower-than-expected loss on higher revenue; disappointing guidance snapped a six-day winning streak for Zillow (ZG, Z); while Hertz ( HTZ ) reported a wider-than-expected Q1 loss that overshadowed an 8% increase in revenue.
The latest job openings and labor turnover survey was overshadowed by events this morning. The better-than-expected 6.550 million in available jobs was above 6.10 million estimates and improved significantly from 6.078 million in February.
Crude oil was down $1.81 to $68.92 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $2.72 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.50 to $1,314.70 an ounce, while silver was down $0.01 to $16.48 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $3.05 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.52% to $13.89 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.58% to $22.17. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (-0.61%) to 22.50 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.01% to $124.58. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.10% to $15.50.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was down 16.97 points (-0.19%) to 12,490.05
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 45.28 points (-0.19%) to 24,312.04
S&P 500 was down 6.72 points (-0.25%) to 2,665.87
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 17.92 points (-0.23%) to 7,248.57
FTSE 100 was down 1.39 points (-0.02%) to 7,565.75
DAX was down 25.93 points (-0.28%) to 12,912.21
CAC 40 was down 9.49 points (-0.17%) to 5,521.93
Nikkei 225 was up 41.53 points (+0.18%) to 22,508.69
Hang Seng Index was up 408.55 points (+1.36%) to 30,402.81
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 24.95 points (+0.80%) to 3,161.60
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 102.20 points (-0.86%) to 11,822.54
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 8.95 points (+0.11%) to 8,009.75
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 89.80 points (-0.64%) to 14,046.45
(+) SEII (+17.25%) Entered licensing agreement with Ecrent Capital Holdings
(+) NSU (+15.85%) Received offer to be acquired by Lundin Mining, Euro Sun for $1.16 billion but co rejected offer
(+) TCMD (+15.47%) Reported upbeat Q1 results, raised FY18 guidance
(-) NVRO (-15.13%) Q1 loss widens, revenue misses estimates
(-) HTZ (-14.98%) Reported wider-than-expected Q1 loss, revenue topped estimates
(-) SN (-11.03%) Reported wider-than-expected loss
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