Stocks are lower at the session's half as a weak report from a major retailer sparks worries about consumer demand. Crude oil futures also eased with the new July contract trading below $100 a barrel. There are no economic reports scheduled for Friday.
In company news:
Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) is up 31% after the company announced late Thursday that the Special Committee of its board of directors has received a proposal from Liberty Media to acquire the company for $17 per share in cash. The committee will review the proposal.
JP Morgan reportedly downgraded Leap Wireless ( LEAP ) to "neutral" from "overweight." The firm cited valuation and expectations for a seasonal summer slowdown in prepaid phone sales. It keeps a $16 price target for shares.
Shares of Bank of America ( BAC ) are higher following a Bloomberg report the bank agreed to sell its remaining stake in BlackRock (BLK) for $2.5 billion. In all, BofA will sell 13.6 million shares to BlackRock for $187.65 apiece. BofA acquired the 34% stake in BlackRock when it took over Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis.
BP (BP) is higher after the oil major reached a settlement with MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC -- which had a 10% stake in the Macondo oil well -- over claims related to the Deepwater Horizon accident. BP said MOEX will pay $1.065 billion, which BP will immediately apply to the $20 billion trust it established in the wake of the disaster.
In earnings news:
--Gap Inc. (GPS) is down after at least one analyst downgrade this morning following disappointing evening earnings results. Gap reported Q1 EPS of $0.40 compared to $0.45 a year earlier and topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.39. Sales fell 1% to $3.3 billion, in line with the Street view.
--Shares of Salesforce.com (CRM) are sharply higher after the company, late yesterday, reported Q1 breakeven earnings, or $0.28 on an adjusted basis, compared to a profit of $0.13 a year earlier, just beating the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.27. Sales rose 34% to $504.4 million. The Street looked for $483 million. For Q2, the company guides for non-GAAP EPS of $0.29 to $0.30. The Street is at $0.26. The company raised FY revenue guidance to $2.15 to $2.17 billion, with non-GAAP EPS expected at $1.30 to $1.32. The Street is at $1.27 on $2.1 billion.
Commodities are mixed. June gold contracts are up 1.29%, to $1,512 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are up 0.97% to $97.97 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.13% to $38.63 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.08%, to $10.79.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.06% at $147.21. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.56% to $55.90. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.2% to $34.19.
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