ECB Move To Boost Liquidity Keeps Bulls In Check

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Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader
  • DJIA up 4.16 to 12,107.74
  • S&P 500 up 2.42 to 1,243.72
  • Nasdaq down 25.76 to 2,577.97

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei up 1.41%
  • Hang Seng up 1.86%
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.12%
  • FTSE-100 down 0.55%
  • DAX-30 down 0.95%

U.S. stocks ended mixed Wednesday, with bulls kept in check after the European Central Bank moved to pacify concerns over the eurozone's debt crisis by lending a record amount to regional banks.

Wednesday afternoon, the ECB offered to loan $641 billion to 523 euro area banks in a massive three-year funding operation, a move that they hoped would send a strong-signal through the markets. However, the result was negligible, and after a day of trending negative, U.S. stocks closed mixed.

Stocks were under pressure since before market open, after the ECB said 523 banks requested 489 billion euro ($641 billion) in the central bank's long-term funding operation. A consensus of analysts polled by Reuters called for funding of 310 billion euros.

In data out today, existing home sales in the U.S. rose 4.0% month-over-month in November to 4.42 million annualized units.

In company news:

Shares of KB Home (NYSE:KBH) declined after the company reported Q4 revenue of $479.9 mln, up from $451 mln a year ago. Earnings were $0.18, vs. $0.23 per share last year. At November 30, the company had 2,156 homes in backlog, up from 1,336 homes in backlog at November 30, 2010. The company's projected future housing revenues in backlog increased 74% to approximately $459.0 million at November 30, from approximately $263.8 million at November 30, 2010.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) inked deals with two Asian firms a day after getting a double setback for two of its key assets. AZN said it had signed a deal to develop a cancer treatment from Hutchison China MediTech. The company also purchased options on a potential class of diabetes drugs from Astellas Pharma.

Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) is set to take the second spot behind McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) in sales, which are expected to be $8.42 billion, ahead of Burger King, according to research done by Technomic and reported by the Orlando Business Journal. That makes it second behind McDonald's, the report says.

Research In Motion (RIMM) was higher following a Wall Street Journal report that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) in recent months considered making a joint bid for RIMM. The status of the talks is unclear, according to the report.

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) was down sharply after issuing disappointing results and guidance. It expects Q3 revenue growth in the range of 3% to 7% in constant currency and between 1% and 5% in U.S. dollars. Non-GAAP EPS is seen in the range of $0.56 to $0.59 in constant currency and between $0.55 and $0.58 in U.S. dollars. The Street view is 7% revenue growth and EPS of $0.58 per share.

Shares of Ampio Pharmaceuticals (NYSEMKT:AMPE) tumbled on Wednesday following news that it plans to sell 2.2 million shares of its common stock to a group of investors for $4.25 a share.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) were just higher, while the oil firm said the Bohai Bay Compensation Fund will provide compensation for any damages caused by the June 2011 accidents that occurred at the Peng Lai 19-3 field in Bohai Bay. The fund will be independently administered and will provide compensation to affected people, communities and industries near Bohai Bay.

Westway Group (NASDAQ:WWAY) rejected $6 buyout offer, claiming it was "too low." Shares jumped to a 52-week high.

Commodities were mixed. Crude-oil for February delivery climbed $1.43, or 1.5%, to settle at $98.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for delivery in February fell $4, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,613.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) RIMM, Upgraded to Buy from Hold at ThinkEquity, reportedly the subject of M&A interest at Microsoft and Nokia.

(+) DFG, Soars on Acquisition by Tokio Marine

(+) LYG, Upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Exande BNP Paribas

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ORCL, Downgraded to Underperform from Buy at Credit Agricole after disappointing results, guidance.

(-) SAP, Tracking Oracle Lower After Disappointing Earnings

(-) KMX, Reports Q3 EPS Miss, Revs In Line