On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session in negative territory, but the losses were modest. The averages gained some ground following comments by President Trump hinting at an infrastructure announcement during his joint address to Congress tomorrow. Unable to capitalize on their upward momentum, the averages have stalled out at midday and are little changed near noon. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., durable goods orders rebounded 1.8% in January, stronger than expected. The pending home sales index dropped 2.8% to 106.4 in January after rebounding 0.8% to 109.5 in December. The Dallas Fed manufacturing index rose 2.4 points to 24.5 in February after climbing 5.2 points to 22.1 in January. COMPANY NEWS: While speaking on CNBC, Warren Buffett said he a bought a lot more Apple (AAPL) shares since December 31, with Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) now owning 133M shares of the tech giant. At year end Berkshire owned 59M shares of the iPhone maker, Buffett said... President Trump's first budget will call for a $54B increase in defense spending, while non-defense spending will be cut by $54B, White House budget officials told reporters. Among the publicly traded companies in the Defense sector are Boeing (BA), United Technologies (UTX), Lockheed Martin (LMT), General Dynamics (GD), and Raytheon (RTN). Meanwhile, during his meeting with Governors today to discuss a variety of issues, Trump hinted that he will be making a "big" announcement on infrastructure during his joint address to Congress on Tuesday, according to The Hill. Publicly traded companies in the infrastructure sector include Steel Dynamics (STLD), AK Steel (AKS), U.S. Steel (X), Fluor (FLR), Granite Construction (GVA), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Quanta Services (PWR), Aecom (ACM), Jacobs Engineering (JEC), KBR (KBR), Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) and MasTec (MTZ). The President also met this morning with executives from several health insurance companies, such as UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Humana (HUM), Anthem (ANTM), and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Trump said that insurers needed to work together to lower prices and help find solutions to address the Affordable Care Act's flaws. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was La Jolla Pharmaceutical (LJPC), which jumped 80% after announcing the analysis of the primary efficacy endpoint of the ATHOS-3 Phase 3 study of LJPC-501 in patients with catecholamine resistant hypotension was highly statistically significant. Also higher was Gogo (GOGO), which gained about 16% after the provider of in-flight connectivity posted better than expected fourth quarter results. Additionally, Sothebys (BID) rose almost 14% after the art auction conductor's quarterly results beat consensus estimates. Among the noteworthy losers was Tesla (TSLA), which slid over 4% after Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino downgraded the stock to Sell, citing concerns over the execution of its Model 3 launch, the company's solar business and its cash needs. Also lower was Shutterstock (SSTK), which slipped almost 19% after the company reported weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings per share and revenue. Additionally, AmTrust Financial Services (AFSI) dropped about 15% after the company disclosed that it identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting that existed as of December 31, 2016. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 5.82, or 0.03%, to 20,815.94, the Nasdaq was up 0.20 to 5,845.50, and the S&P 500 was down 0.12, or 0.01%, to 2,367.22.