Sputtering Stocks End Flat

by: Midnight Trader

4:13 PM, Aug 17, 2011 --

  • NYSE up 24.28 (+0.3%) to 7,418.77
  • DJIA up 4 (+0.04%) to 11,410.21
  • S&P 500 up 1 (+0.1%) to 1,193.88
  • Nasdaq down 11.69 (-0.5%) to 2,511.48


  • Nikkei down 0.6%.
  • Hang Seng up 0.4%.
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.3%.
  • FTSE-100 down 0.4%.


(+) EK jumps on patent sale/deal speculation.

(+) BJ beats with earnings though sales lag.


(-) LPSN started with Buy rating.

(-) CHS beats with earnings, making acquisition.

(-) CSIQ stock down after results; earnings do top year ago.

(-) ANF down despite earnings beat.

(-) AIXG downgraded.

(-) BCSI continues evening slide that followed earnings miss, new CEO; downgraded today.

(-) FSLR downgraded.

(-) DE down after results.

(-) BKD downgraded.


Stocks end little changed after losing an early gain that had pushed the DJIA up over 100 points at one time. Corporate earnings for some firms - such as Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) - gave investors pause and a reason to reconsider the strength of the economic recovery. Mostly upbeat retail earnings were encouraging.

Mixed inflation data had limited market impact. Producer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in July, as a surge in tobacco prices offset a decline in energy costs, the Labor Department said this morning. Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rose 0.4%, the largest monthly gain since January, MarketWatch reported. Both readings were stronger than Wall Street economists predicted. Over 12 months, producer prices have climbed an unadjusted 7.2%.

Shares of Dell Inc. (DELL) fell sharply after the computer maker reported late yesterday that Q2 non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.54 on sales of $15.7 billion. The Street view is for EPS of 0.49 on sales of $15.76 billion. Dell raised its non-GAAP operating income growth expectation for FY 2012 to 17% to 23% year-over-year from 12% to 18%. The company also revised its full-year revenue-growth outlook to 1% to 5% from the previous range of 5% to 9%.

E*Trade Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) shares were higher, after the online brokerage said July daily Average Revenue Trades were 144,023, an 11% increase from June and a 12% increase from the year-ago period. It ended the month with 2.8 million brokerage accounts - including 24,110 gross new brokerage accounts and 916 net new brokerage accounts during the month.

Shares of Southern Union (NYSE:SUG) were higher after Williams (NYSE:WMB) said late Tuesday that it still wants to buy Southern Union for $44 per share in cash. But Southern Union still backs a competing offering from Energy Transfer Equity, Reuters reported.

Five tobacco companies including Lorillard (NYSE:LO), Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) and Vector Group (NYSE:VGR) have filed a lawsuit to stop an FDA regulation that requires graphic anti-smoking warning labels to be placed on cigarette packs, The New York Times reported. Altria (NYSE:MO), the parent company of Philip Morris, said it supported the new law and has not joined the lawsuits.

Shares of Kinetic Concepts (NYSE:KCI) were down after Bloomberg reported that Bain Capital had pulled out of talks with Avista Capital Partners involving a bid for the company. Bain Capital and Avista Capital were seeking to raise financing for a takeover offer that would top a $5 billion bid from Apax Partners that is already on the table.

In earnings news:

--Shares of Target (NYSE:TGT) were higher after the upscale discount retailer reported second quarter earnings per share came in at $1.03, which was better than the analyst consensus of $0.97 a share on Thomson Reuters. Sales were $15.9 billion, which was shy of Street estimates of $16.1 billion. For Q3, the company expects EPS in the range of $0.70 to $0.75 per share, vs. the Street view of $0.71 per share. For the full year 2011, EPS is seen in the range of $4.15 to $4.30 per share, vs. expectations of $4.12 per share.

--Shares of Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) turned lower. The office supply chain reported fiscal Q2 adjusted EPS came in at $0.22 compared with $0.20 a year earlier, two cents better than the Street view. Sales were up 5.2% to $5.82 million. The Street looked for $5.64 million. For the fiscal year, Staples said it expects to achieve adjusted earnings per share between $1.39 and $1.45. Analysts are, on average, forecasting $1.36 a share on the year.