Stock Averages Straddle Flat Line

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Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader

4:19 PM, Apr 14, 2011 --

  • NYSE up 6.85 (+0.1%) to 8,374.16
  • DJIA up 14.16 (+0.1%) to 12,285
  • S&P 500 up 0.1 (+0.01%) to 1,314
  • Nasdaq down 1 (-0.1%) to 2,760

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng down 0.5%
  • Nikkei up 0.13%
  • FTSE down 0.78%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) THC initiated with Buy rating.

(-) FCS beats with earnings, guidance.

(+) DUK inks deal for energy storage technology at Texas wind farm.

(+) SVU beats with Q4 results.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) INTC downgraded.

(+) GOOG due with results after bell.

(-) BAC due with earnings early Friday.

(-) GS down amid call for probe by DOJ, SEC.

(-) DB downgraded.

(-) YGE initiated with Neutral rating.

(-) HAS misses with earnings, beats with revenue.

(-) LDK initiated with Neutral rating.

(-) TSL initiated with Neutral rating.

(-) VRA selling shares.

(-) MFRI sales decline.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks end mostly with narrow gains, turning higher late in the day as the U.S. House approved the funding of government spending through September. Stocks slumped earlier after disappointing jobless claims data hit and as some caution emerged as earnings continue. The Nasdaq ends just in the red, unable to hold its late-day bounce.

The latest employment data showed a weekly increase in jobless benefits claims. At the same time, wholesale prices in the U.S. rose in March, weighing on equities.

First-time applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose 27,000 to 412,000 in the previous week, while economists expected a decline to 380,000. The gain was probably linked to the typical increase in activity seen in the final week of the quarter, the Labor Dept. said. The less-volatile four-week average of applications rose 5,500 to 395,700.

Also, the government said the producer-price index climbed a 0.7% in March, following a 1.6% gain in February and a 0.8% increase in January. Excluding volatile food and energy categories, the core rate rose 0.3% in March.

Commodities finish trading higher as gold ending in positive territory helped, in part, by a weaker dollar. Crude oil futures also logged gains by the close.

Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery finished up 0.9% at $108.11 a barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil was down 0.67% to $3.18 a gallon while natural gas was up 2.25% to $4.23 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, gold futures settled near a record high.

Gold for June delivery finished up 1.2% to $1,472.40 an ounce. In other metal futures, silver was up 3.74% to $41.74 a troy ounce while copper traded down 0.27% to $4.30.

In company news:

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) was softer after the chairman of the Senate panel that investigated the financial crisis said GS misled clients and Congress about investments in securities tied to mortgages. Sen. Carl Levin said he wants the Justice Department and the SEC to examine whether GS violated the law by misleading clients who bought the collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm was betting they would fall in value, Bloomberg says.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) shares were down on a Bloomberg story that Arcos Dorados Holdings (NYSE:ARCO), which operates McDonald's restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean, raised $1.25 billion in an expanded initial public offering. The amount was more than 33% of the original amount sought in the offering.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) says it intends to store electricity generated at its Notrees Windpower Project in west Texas using an energy storage and power management system developed by Austin-based Xtreme Power. It is targeting an in-service date for the battery storage system by late 2012.

Investors will be eyeing Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which is due with its Q1 report in the pre-market on Friday, April 15. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the bank to post a profit of $0.27 per share on revenue of $26.69 billion.

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals (OGXI) says the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted European Patent Number EP1545561 entitled "Oligonucleotides for Treatment of Prostate and other Cancers." Shares are higher in mid-session trading.

Shares of Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) were down as The Wall Street Journal reports the company is looking at the sale of its unit that sells phones and other telecom gear to companies. The unit is said to potentially be worth $1.5 billion or more. The firm has hired advisers to examine options for the business, the report said.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is recalling 57,000 bottles of its Topamax epilepsy drug, Reuters reports. The recall comes after reports of a bad smell from the drugs. The recall is the latest in a string of recalls from the health care products company. The recall comes from consumer reports of a smell that is thought to come from trace amounts of a byproduct of a chemical applied to wood pallets that transport products, the report said.

In earnings news:

-SUPERVALU (NYSE:SVU) says Q4 sales were $8.7 billion, versus the Thomson Reuters mean for $8.71643 billion.

-Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) reports Q1 adjusted EPS of $0.12 compared to $0.26 a year earlier and shy of the Street view for $0.17. Revenue was flat at $672 million. That does top the Street view for $659.1 million.

-Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) reports Q1 sales of $413 million, in line with the analyst consensus on Thomson Reuters. Adjusted EPS was $0.39, vs. expectations of $0.36 per share. For Q2, the company expects sales in the range of $425 to $435 million, vs. Street estimates of $424 million.

Commodities were higher. June gold contracts were up $14, or 0.94%, to $1,469 an ounce while May crude oil contacts were up 0.55%, or $0.58, at $107.68 a barrel.