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4:22 PM, Aug 4, 2010 --

  • NYSE up 35 (+0.4%) to 7,182.14
  • DJIA up 44 (+0.4%) to 10,680
  • S&P 500 up 6.78 (+0.6%) to 1,127
  • Nasdaq up 20 (+0.9%) to 2,304

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng up 0.43%
  • Nikkei down 2.1%
  • FTSE down 0.09%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) SIRI boosts FY outlook.

(+) BKS exploring possible sale.

(+) ARIA swings to profit.

(+) DGIT beats Q2 estimates.

(+) DNDN misses Q2 estimates but says Provenge sales growing.

(+) FTLK postpones share offering.

(+) XOMA gets orphan drug status for Behcet treatment.

(+) SQNM gets upgrade.

(+) MOT gains as FT says tablet in the works.

(+) XJT sold to SkyWest for $6.75/share.

(+) SOLF upgraded.

(+) GRMN beats with earnings.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) BP down despite progress with mud fix.

(-) DSCO loss meets Street view.

(-) SMCI misses with earnings.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stock averages extended gains in the last stretch of Wednesday's session, ending up 0.4%-0.9%. Improved economic data and mostly upbeat earnings and guidance helped stocks recovery from Tuesday declines.

Gains followed upbeat reports on private-sector hiring conditions and the services economy though caution persists after Monday's sharp gains and ahead of Friday's Labor Department jobs report. Earnings news was mostly positive.

Oil closes lower but ends above $82 a barrel. The dollar is firmer for the first day in six but remains near a 15-year low against the yen. Gold gains but is shy of the $1,200 mark.

Ahead of the open, ADP said private employers added 42,000 jobs last month, slightly better the forecasts of economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, the ISM's service sector index, covering the biggest component of the U.S. economy, rose to 54.3 in July from 53.8 in June. That's better than the 53 expected; any reading above 50 indicates growth.

In company news:

Two late-stage studies of an experimental hepatitis C drug from Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) met two main effectiveness goals, according to Reuters. Merck expects to seek approval for boceprevir--a drug gained by Merck through its acquisition of Schering-Plough--by the end of the year, the report said.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) reportedly settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in an arrangement where Intel can't retaliate against computer makers who do business with non-Intel suppliers, according to a Wall Street Journal report of the deal. Additionally, Intel can't make benefits to computer makers in exchange for their agreement to only buy chips from Intel.

Motorola (MOT) is up after investor Carl Icahn again raised his stake in the company. Icahn raised his shareholding to 9.99% from 8.75% in May, according to a U.S. regulatory filing dated yesterday. The billionaire investor held 5.15% of MOT at the end of last year.

Shares of HSBC (HBC) are lower on word that American authorities are probing the U.S. division of the bank regarding its compliance with anti-money laundering procedures, Reuters reported, citing a regulatory filing. According to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HSBC has reportedly received subpoenas and other requests for information, the report said.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is higher after it announced it would explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The company's board said it came to this decision based on the price of Barnes & Noble shares in the marketplace, which the board believes are now significantly undervalued.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) reportedly opted to not file an infringement lawsuit against DepoMed (NASDAQ:DEPO) over gabapentin, a drug to treat epileptic seizures, according to a Reuters report. While the news is as expected, it removes an overhang from Depomed shares, according to Roth Capital Partners.

ExpressJet Holdings (XJT), parent company of regional and charter airline operator, ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., today announced that it signed a definitive merger agreement with SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW). SkyWest will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of ExpressJet for $6.75 per share in cash, or $133 million, subject to the conditions of the definitive merger agreement.

In earnings news, Internet company AOL (NYSE:AOL) reported a $9.89 per share loss in Q2 based on a $1.4 billion accounting charge for social networking site Bebo. The company made $0.86 per share a year earlier. AOL says revenue fell 26% to $584.1 million. The Thomson Reuters survey called for $610 million in revenue.

Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) shares are higher after the company reported a second quarter profit helped by improved advertising and box office sales. Time Warner reported second quarter net income of $562 million, or $0.49 a share, for the three months ended June 30. That was up from $524 million, or $0.43, a year ago. Without one-time items, the company would have made $0.50 a share versus analysts' expectations of $0.45 a share.

Source: Stocks Pad Gains Late