Stocks Cling To Early Gains

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 |  Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader
  • DJIA up 78.41 (+0.65%) to 12,097.83
  • S&P 500 up 12.8 (+1%) to 1,257.08
  • Nasdaq up 28.83 (+1.1%) to 2,655.76

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei up 0.6%
  • Hang Seng up 0.7%
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.1%
  • FTSE-100 up 0.2%
  • DAX-30 up 0.4%

U.S stocks closed up but were just clinging to gains in afternoon trading after the Financial Times reported rating agency Standard & Poor's had threatened European AAA sovereigns with a creditwatch negative rating.

Earlier, the Dow had rallied 100 points as a meeting between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy resurrected optimism that the eurozone would act swiftly, and in unison, to combat the regional debt crisis.

This morning, markets had virtually no reaction to a data release from the United States. The Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index slowed from 52.9% in October to a reading of 52.0% in November, its lowest level since Jan. 2010. Though any reading above 50% indicates expansion, economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated an acceleration to 54.0%.

In End-of-Day Company News:

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) shares were higher as the U.S. oil major is expected to sign a pact on liquefied natural gas with Qatar tomorrow, Bloomberg reports. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson and Qatar's Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada will be on hand for the signing, the report said.

Affymax (OTCPK:AFFY) shares rallied nearly 20%, the most in 16-months, after U.S. regulators announced that AFFY's experimental anemia medicine works as well as treatments marketed by Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for patients with chronic kidney disease, as reported by Bloomberg.

Shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) were flat while Miles White, the company's chief executive officer, said he is looking to invest more in research and development in emerging markets, according to a Bloomberg report. The comments came at a pharmaceutical industry conference.

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) shares hit a new 52-week high of $36.90 before slipping back after the Board of Directors released the names of the the people who will run its future global snacks and North American grocery companies.

Shares of SuccessFactors (NYSE:SFSF) were holding on to their gains, last up more than 50% after announcing a deal to sell the company to SAP America (NYSE:SAP).

Telular (NASDAQ:WRLS) climbed after announcing the acquisition of SkyBitz for $42 million.

Commodities finished trading mixed as crude oil futures managed a positive finish just shy of $101 a barrel, while gold futures ended down 1%.

Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery finished up 0.05% to $100.99 a barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil was up 0.08% to $2.99 a gallon while natural gas was down 3.43% to $3.46 per million British thermal units.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEARCA:USO) is down 0.1% to $38.99. The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA:UNG) is down 3.54% to $7.63.

Meanwhile, gold futures finished lower as progress on solving Europe's debt crisis appeared within reach, squelching demand for bullion.

Gold for February delivery finished down 1% to $1,734.50 an ounce. In other metal futures, silver was down 1% to $32.37 a troy ounce while copper was up 0.5% to $3.60.

The U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.07% to $78.62.

In metal ETFs, SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) is down 1.28% to $167.74. Market Vectors ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:GDX) is up 0.21% to $58.19. iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) is down 1.14% to $31.28.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) ULTI, Downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity

(+) LLEN, Inks Joint Sale Deal with China Chengtong Metal

(+) GM, Initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray

(+) SFSF, Co. to be acquired by SAP for $40 Per Share

(+) TIVO, Initiated with a Buy at UBS

(+) CLF, Announced Anticipated Production Curtailment at Empire Mine

(+) AEO, Upgraded to Equalweight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley

(+) DG, Beats With Q3 Results, Raises FY View, Sets Buyback

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SAP, Acquiring SuccessFactors