Equities Update: Flat Finish as Energies Weigh

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 |  Includes: DIA, HEB, NOK, NVAX, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader

4:21 PM, Dec 2, 2009 --

  • NYSE up 10.3 (0.14%) to 7,222.42.
  • DJIA down 18.9 (0.18%) to 10,453.
  • S&P 500 up 0.38 (0.03%) to 1,109.
  • Nasdaq up 9.2 (0.4%) to 2,185.03.


GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng up 0.80%
  • Nikkei up 0.38%
  • FTSE up 0.29%


UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) DYAX continues evening gain seen after FDA Approval of KALBITOR in acute attacks of hereditary angioedema in patients 16 years and older.

(+) KERX says FDA grants fast-track status for oral anti-cancer agent.

(+) CYTR says FDA lifts clinical hold of Arimoclomol in ALS.

(+) SNTS continues evening gain that followed FDA approval for Zegerid.

(+) NVAX reports positive results from H1N1 study in Mexico.

(+) AEZS says anti-cancer compound Perifosine gets FDA fast track designation.

(+) RFMD gets analyst upgrade.

(+) AMR says ExpressJet CEO to join company.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) HEB sees continued sharp selling after evening announcement that FDA cannot approve Ampligen.

(-) NOK sees mobile device volume market share flat in 2010.

(-) RGNC selling common units.

(-) WAG says same store sales up 3.9%

MARKET DIRECTION

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 0.2%, the S&P 500 up 0.03% and Nasdaq Composite up 0.4%.

Stocks slogged around in mixed territory for much of Wednesday's session as a private industry report showed declining layoffs in November for the eighth consecutive month. But higher-than-expected oil inventories sent oil prices lower and weighed on related stocks. Financials also fell. The Fed's Beige Book was as-expected, showing some improvement and continued job market weakness.

In the first of a series of employment reports this week, the ADP National Employment Report says 169,000 private sector jobs were lost in November. That's slightly worse than the 160,000 cuts expected by economists, but better than the 195,000 jobs lost in October.

The ADP jobs report often presages Friday's key monthly unemployment report from the Labor Department. Economists expect the unemployment rate to remain fixed at 10.2%, which it hit last month. Data on weekly jobless claims are due Thursday.

Stocks remained lower in afternoon trading as the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book look at economic anecdotes from around the country. Eight of 12 central bank districts reported the economy had picked up since mid-October, while conditions were little changed or mixed in the four bank regions.

Labor markets remained weak, "with further layoffs, sluggish hiring and high levels of unemployment," the Fed's report said. Business contacts told the Fed that there was little or no upward pressure on wages or consumer prices.

Crude oil closed down 2.3% at $76.60 a barrel, the first decline in three days.

Crude stockpiles rose 2.1 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 27, the Energy Information Administration reported. Gasoline inventories also increased 4 million barrels while distillate inventories, which include heating oil and diesel, fell 1.2 million barrels. Total petroleum demand fell 2.6%, with gasoline demand down 1.6% to 8.94 million barrels a day.

Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP), had estimated a 1.3 million-barrel draw in crude oil reserves. Platts also expected gasoline stockpiles to rise 900,000 barrels, distillate stocks to decline by 450,000 barrels and refinery utilization to increase 0.5 percentage point to 80.8%.

Spot gold hit a record high at $1,216.75 an ounce in Europe today as investors bet on higher prices on expectations of continued dollar weakness and more central bank buying. U.S. gold futures also hit a record $1,218.40 an ounce.

In corporate news, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) declined after the company said it expects its mobile device volume market share to be flat in 2010, compared to 2009. Nokia targets lower average selling price (NYSE:ASP) erosion of its mobile devices in 2010, compared to recent years. The stock is off 2.46% at mid-day.

Hemispherx Biopharma (NYSEMKT:HEB) fell after the company announced it received a complete response letter from the FDA for its Ampligen NDA. The reviewers determined that they cannot approve the application in its present form and provided specific recommendations to address the outstanding issues.

Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) gained after it reported favorable initial results from the first stage of a two-stage pivotal Phase II study evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of the company's 2009 H1N1 virus-like particle (VLP) pandemic influenza vaccine.