4:12 PM, Dec 6, 2010 --
- NYSE down 10.94 (-0.1%) to 7,740.55
- DJIA down 19.90 (-0.2%) to 11,362
- S&P 500 down 1.59 (-0.1%) to 1,223
- Nasdaq up 3.46 (+0.1%) to 2,595
- Hang Seng down 0.36%
- Nikkei down 0.11%
- FTSE up 0.43%
(+) AEZS gains on positive study data.
(+) RMBS doubles Q4 sales outlook.
(+) BCON gets Nasdaq listing extension.
(+) RDWR says SK C&C has deployed Alteon 5412 switches for Web portals.
(+) BGP gains as reports say hedge fund manager William Ackman ready to finance borders acquisition of BKS.
(+) AEO upgraded.
(+) ARO rebounds from early decline; stock downgraded.
(-) WIN downgraded.
(-) SNDK downgraded.
Major stock averages finish just over and under the even line Monday after a choppy session. That finish spoils the broad market's try for a four-day win streak.
Investors cautiously bought stocks as worries about European debt contagion eased somewhat and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said over the weekend that the central bank might increase purchases of U.S. debt if necessary. His comments, which included cautious comments on the duration of a weak job market, elicited a mixed response earlier in the day.
European stocks gained modestly, though U.S. markets drifted lower after the close there. European officials were meeting Monday in Brussels on possible steps to stabilize the region and avoid expanding its 750 billion euro ($997 million) rescue fund. Moody's Investor Service downgraded Hungary's public-debt rating, saying its fiscal policies would be insufficient for the long haul.
Commodities finished higher for the day as crude futures, which traded modestly lower for much of the session, ended in the green while gold futures rallied to a new record high as the dollar strengthened.
Crude gained, lifting energy shares, which helped the broader market. Crude oil for January delivery finished up $0.19, or 0.2%, to $89.38 a barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil was down 0.4% to $2.47 a gallon while natural gas rose 3.6%, to $4.50 per million British thermal units.
The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) rose 0.21% to $79.55. Gold for February delivery finished up $9.90 to $1,416.10 an ounce. In other metal futures, silver rose 1.6% to $29.74 a troy ounce while copper was up 0.26% to $4.00 a pound.
In company-specific news, shares of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) were higher in the regular session after Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Jeffrey B. Kindler announced his retirement Sunday evening, a development that surprised, at least with its timing, several analysts that cover the company. Ian C. Read, Pfizer's head of global biopharmaceutical operations, will take over as chief executive immediately. The board said in its statement that it would elect a new chairman at a meeting within two weeks.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares rose after the Internet giant unveiled its version of digital books with more than three million titles available through its eBookstore. Users can buy, store and read Google eBooks like they would access messages in Gmail by using a password-protected Google account. eBooks storage would be unlimited. Books would cost between $6.17 to $14.99, although some would be free, the company said in a statement.
Shares of MetLife (NYSE:MET) were higher as the largest U.S. life insurer said it sees 2011 earnings gaining after the completion of an acquisition from American International Group (NYSE:AIG), according to reports. For 2011, MetLife sees earnings in the range of $4.75 to $5.15 per share and premiums, fees, and other revenue in the range of $45.8 to $47 billion. The analyst consensus is $5.03 per share in earnings, according to Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN) were sharply lower following positive results from the pivotal trial of single-agent brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35) in relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma. The results are better than expected, but the commercial potential of the drug may be limited because of "the small market opportunity," Bloomberg quoted Canaccord Genuity analyst George Farmer as saying.
Massey Energy (NYSE:MEE) was up more than 3%, after it said late Friday President Baxter Phillips Jr. will succeed Don Blankenship as chief executive officer after he retires on Dec. 31.
AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) were both higher following a published report this morning that AOL may break itself up and seek to merge its content division with Yahoo. AOL's plans are in the exploratory stage, according to Reuters, which broke the story, citing unnamed people close to the plans. No talks are known to be underway. AOL would sell its dial-up business to another Internet service provider and combine its content business with Yahoo, according to the report.
Starbucks Coffee Co. (NASDAQ:SBUX) opened lower and was down fractionally after firing a shot across the bow of Kraft (KFT) this morning over a coffee deal gone awry. The statement was in response to a move earlier today by Kraft to seek a preliminary injunction against Starbucks for allegedly violating the coffee deal. Starbucks claims the agreement had been terminated.
Shares of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) fell despite an earlier Financial Times report that the bank will meet a Dec. 31 deadline to raise the final $3 billion needed to fully repay the government's $45 billion bailout two years ago. The bank was able to satisfy the capital requirements by scaling back its stake in Blackrock (NYSE:BLK) and selling warrants for shares in China Construction Bank, the newspaper said, citing undisclosed sources.
Shares of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) jumped on news that hedge fund manager William Ackman is ready to finance a Borders (BGP) $16 per share offer for Barnes & Noble. Ackerman owns 37% of Borders through his Pershing Square Capital Management, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.