The Dow Jones Industrials Average is trading near its lowest level in over a month following a negative reaction to bearish manufacturing data and mixed corporate earnings. Although the housing data was strong, and leading indicators continue to increase, Wall Street found enough excuses to book profits on Thursday, taking a much more defensive posture into next week's Federal Open Markets Committee meeting.
The trading session kicked off after the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose 1,000 during the week ended Jan. 18 to 326,000 new claims, lagging estimates expecting 330,000 claims. Housing market data also was mostly bullish with sales of existing home rising an expected 1.0% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 4.87 million homes, its highest level in seven years. Separately today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported just a 0.1% rise in home prices during November, down from 0.5% gain in the prior month.
Earlier Latest data from China indicated that the planet's second largest economy may be beginning to slow, while an index of U.S. purchasing managers showed a modest contraction in activity to a 53.7 reading in January, trailing the market consensus looking for a 55.0 reading this month.
Finally, leading economic indicators increased 0.1%, matching expectations, but slower than the 0.8% pace in November.
Crude oil was up $0.32 to $97.13 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.10 to $4.65 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $20.00 to $1,258.60 an ounce, while silver was up $0.21 to $20.05 an ounce. Copper was up $0.05 to $3.29 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.64% to $34.78 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up $1.42 $22.80. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up $2.42 to 23.65 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.81% to $121.36. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.21% to $19.26.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 99.69 (-0.96%) to 10,269.20
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 191.85 (-1.17%) to 16,181.49
S&P 500 down 19.31 (-1.05%) to 1,825.55
Nasdaq Composite Index down 39.52 (-0.93%) to 4,203.48
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.79%
Hang Seng Index down 1.51%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.47%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.78%
CAC 40 down 1.02%
DAX down 0.92%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.85%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.33%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.57%
(+) SILC (+19.6%) Posted Q4 EPS of $0.94 on revenue of $25.4 million, beating the Street view of EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $18.42 million.
(+) JFBI (+18.8%) Agreed to be bought by North Carolina bank-holding company HomeTrust Bancshares Inc. ( HTBI ) for $8.00 a share
(+) FFIV (+6.7%) Janney Capital Markets raised its investment rating on the stock to buy from neutral.
(-) HRC (-13.8%) Reported lower-than-expected financial results for Q1 ended Dec. 31, 2013, and lowered its outlook for FY14.
(-) CBLI (-34.5%) Terminated negotiations related to the company's proposal for further development of Entolimod as a medical radiation countermeasure.
(-) ACAT (-17.3%) Fiscal Q3 earnings fall short, cuts FY guidance
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