Stocks Move Mostly Lower In Mid-Morning Trading Stocks are mostly lower in mid-morning trading on Wednesday amid a light day on the economic front. Despite the weakness in the markets, selling largely remains subdued ahead of tomorrow's final reading on second quarter GDP and data on jobless claims.
The major averages have seen some further downside in recent dealing, setting fresh session lows. TheDow is currently down 47.42 points or 0.4 percent at 10,810.72, the Nasdaq is down 11.26 points or 0.5 percent at 2,368.33 and the S&P 500 is down 6.57 points or 0.6 percent at 1,141.13.
Profit taking is contributing to the modest weakness visible in the markets, with some traders cashing in on the strong upward move shown over the past.
Nonetheless, shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are trading higher in the early going after the company forecast fiscal 2011 adjusted earnings of $5.05 to $5.15 per share on revenues of $131.5 billion to $133.5 billion.
HP's guidance is above analyst estimates, which called for fiscal 2011 earnings of $4.99 per share on revenues of $131.4 billion.
BP Plc (BP) is also in the spotlight today after announcing restructuring plans that include the creation of a safety unit with company-wide oversight.
In earnings news, Family Dollar (FDO) reported fourth-quarter net income of $0.56 per share, topping forecasts for $0.51 per share for the period. Net sales came in at $1.957 billion, just under the $1.96 billion expected for the period.
Family Dollar also announced $750 million in share repurchases along with guidance for fiscal 2011 that was roughly in line with forecasts.
In global economic news, data released in China revealed that manufacturing activity in the world's second largest economy picked up to a 5-month high in September. However, activity was still well off the record high levels registered at the start of the year.
Markit Economics said the HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index was at a seasonally adjusted 52.9, up from 51.9 in August. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Sector NewsCommercial real estate stocks are notably lower in mid-morning trading, dragging the Morgan Stanley REIT Index down by 1.1 percent. The index remains in a range despite the day's decline.
Housing stocks are also under pressure, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.1 percent as it falls from the two-week closing high set in the previous session.
Utility, banking and gold stocks are also trading lower, while strength is visible among oil service stocks, boosting the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index up by 1.2 percent. The advance has the index on pace for its best close in four and a half months.
Stocks Driven By Analyst Comments
Despite the weakness in the broader markets, Endo Pharmaceutical (ENDP) is trading higher after being upgraded at Oppenheimer from Perform to Outperform. The stock is up by 1 percent and on pace for a fresh three-year closing high.
Raymond James (RJF) is also on the upside after analysts at Ticonderoga lifted their rating on the stock from Neutral to Buy. Shares are currently up by 2.1 percent and have risen to their best intraday price in roughly seven weeks.
On the other hand, J. Crew (JCG) is in the red after being downgraded at Janney Montgomery Scott from Buy to Neutral, with the broker seeing increased competition for the firm. The stock is down by 2.6 percent but remains rangebound.
In overseas trading, the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly higher on Wednesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up by 1.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are seeing moderate downside. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100Index is down by 0.1 percent.
In the bond markets, treasuries are little changed. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is trading at 2.464 percent, posting a gain of less than one basis point.