On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
The S&P and Dow were lower for most of the session, but the market was buoyed by the strength in the Nasdaq, which had help from several solid earnings reports and a big deal in the tech sector. As the market drew nearer to the close, the averages drifted to their best levels of the day as investors braced for the next wave in today's flood of earnings reports. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., EIA data showed that natural gas inventories grew by 17 billion cubic feet of gas during the week ended July 22, which was lower than the 26 bcf expected to be added to storage. COMPANY NEWS: Facebook (FB) closed the trading day up 1.35% at $125.00 per share, though that is well off the stock's earlier highs on the heels of its much better than expected earnings report last night. A number of Wall Street analysts have hiked their price targets for Facebook shares following the report, but Monness Crespi analyst James Cakmak downgraded Facebook to Neutral this morning, suggesting it may be "prudent to take some profits" at this time... Ford (F), conversely, suffered mightily after its profits fell short of expectations. The automaker, which warned that it now sees "risks challenging achieving" its full year guidance of company pretax profit and operating margin equal to or better than last year, saw its shares slide 8.2% after its quarterly report... Shares of NetSuite (N) rallied 18% to $108.41 after the company agreed to be acquired by Oracle (ORCL) for $109 per share in cash, or approximately $9.3B. This comes after long-standing rumors of a possible tie-up of the two were rekindled in recent weeks, though those rumors were dismissed by many Wall Street analysts. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Healthways (HWAY), which advanced 30% after the company announced it has completed its strategic assessment and signed a definitive agreement to sell its Total Population Health Services business to Sharecare. Alere (ALR), which dropped over 28% yesterday following a report of a Department of Justice criminal probe, gained 16% today after the company confirmed the DoJ's subpoena, said it was fully cooperating with the investigation and noted that it believes the matter to which the subpoena relates is not material. Additionally, Groupon (GRPN) gained 28.8% after the company announced earnings and raised its fiscal year 2016 revenue view. Among the noteworthy losers was Infinera (INFN), which dropped 33.5% after reporting results and reducing its guidance. After the earnings release, six research firms downgraded the stock to Neutral-equivalent ratings. Also lower following earnings was GNC (GNC), which slipped 25.5%. Additionally, the company announced that its CEO Michael Archbold was stepping down and suspended its previous fiscal year 2016 guidance. Additionally, Whole Foods (WFM) slid 9% after the company reported quarterly results. INDEXES: The Dow fell 15.82, or 0.09%, to 18,456.35, the Nasdaq gained 15.17, or 0.3%, to 5,154.98, and the S&P 500 advanced 3.48, or 0.16%, to 2,170.06.