On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks are higher in midday trading as the pullback of the last several sessions looks set to end despite a slide in oil prices. WTI crude is down over 3.5% and approaching $44 per barrel near noon as media reports indicate that a production limiting deal this week in Algiers seems unlikely. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., the Case Shiller 20-city home price index reported a year-over-year gain of 5.0% in July, down from 5.1% in June. Markit's services PMI rose 0.9 points to 51.9 in the September flash print. The Richmond Fed's manufacturing index improved to -8 in September from its prior reading of -11. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index improved further in September. The index now stands at 104.1, up from 101.8 in August. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of American Express (AXP) are trading up about 1% near noon after the U.S. appeals court weighing its steering case, a dispute over whether the company can legally prohibit merchants from steering customers to cheaper cards, ruled in favor of the company. Additionally, the company's board of directors approved the repurchase of up to 150 million common shares and a 3c, or 10%, increase in the quarterly dividend on its common stock... Wells Fargo (WFC) continues to make headlines. The company's board is said to be actively considering whether to claw back pay from CEO John Stumpf and the bank's former retail-banking head over the company's sales-tactics scandal, according to The Wall Street Journal... Ford Motor (F) has responded to last night's claims by presidential candidate Donald Trump that the company planned to send "thousands of jobs" to Mexico. According to the automaker, the announced plan to move production of its Ford Focus to Mexico will have no impact on U.S. jobs. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Kite Pharma (KITE), which has advanced about 9% after the cancer researcher reported data from an early analysis of its lead drug candidate KTE-C19, which met its goal of meaningfully shrinking tumors in a trial. Shares of competitor Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) are also up about 10% after Kite Pharma's news. Also higher was SYNNEX (SNX), which gained almost 9% after reporting better than expected third quarter results and raising its quarterly dividend. Among the noteworthy losers was Caesars Entertainment (CZR), which dropped almost 16% after the company announced that it has struck a deal with most of its operating unit's creditors, paving the subsidiary's way out of a costly bankruptcy. Also lower was Chesapeake Energy (CHK), which slipped about 9% amid oil's slide and after announcing the resignation of Vincent Intrieri and John Lipinski from its Board of Directors. Additionally, Rice Energy (RICE) slid more than 7% after the company agreed to acquire Vantage Energy for approximately $2.7B, including the assumption of debt, and filed to sell 40M shares of common stock. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 140.73, or 0.78%, to 18,235.56, the Nasdaq was up 41.45, or 0.79%, to 5,298.94, and the S&P 500 was up 14.01, or 0.65%, to 2,160.11.