On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the day mixed, with the Dow higher and the S&P and Nasdaq in negative territory. Investors have been deluged with quarterly reports during what has been the busiest week of the earnings season. Digesting all the data will be ongoing, but the market began to move higher shortly after the University of Michigan consumer confidence reading. Although just slightly below expectations, it was good enough to lure buyers into the market and push the averages all mildly into the green near noon. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., GDP was estimated to have increased at a 2.9% annual rate in the third quarter, beating expectations for a 2.5% expansion pace. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading fell 4.0 points to 87.2 in the final October print. In Europe, Eurozone economic sentiment index strengthened to 106.3 for October, above expectations. In Asia, Japan CPI fell 0.5% on year in September, while unemployment rate dropped to 3% in September. COMPANY NEWS: Internet giants Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOG) reported quarterly results but their shares have taken different directions near noon. While Amazon has dropped over 4% following a surprising third quarter earnings miss, Class A shares of Alphabet have gained about 2% after Google's parent beat estimates for its third quarter profit and revenue as users spend more time on smartphones and advertisers spend more dollars to reach them there... Also higher after earnings was Chevron (CVX), which is up nearly 5% after posting a profit amid a recovery in energy prices. While Exxon Mobil (XOM) reported better than expected third quarter earnings per share, the company's revenue miss sent the shares into negative territory by about 1%... According to The Wall Street Journal, General Electric (GE) is looking to acquire Baker Hughes (BHI). In response, GE's Matt Cribbins, VP, Investor Communications, said that "GE has been in discussion with Baker Hughes on potential partnerships. While nothing is concluded, none of these options include an outright purchase." Both stocks are higher after the media report emerged. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Gigamon (GIMO), which advanced over 18% after the company reported third quarter results above estimates and raised its fourth quarter outlook. Also higher after earnings was Hershey (HSY), which gained about 6% after the company announced better than expected quarterly profit as demand strengthened in the U.S. and the company spent less on advertising and marketing. Additionally, MasterCard (MA) rose almost 4% following its third quarter profit increase of 21% due to strong revenue growth and a jump in processed transactions. Among the noteworthy losers was Synaptics (SYNA), which slipped more than 20% following the company's first quarter profit miss. Research firms Craig-Hallum and Needham downgraded the stock to Hold after the earnings release. Also lower was McKesson (MCK), which slid over 24% after reporting worse than expected second quarter results and reducing its 2017 earnings per share guidance. The announcement sparked several rating downgrades as analysts moved to the sidelines amid fears of a price war. Additionally, Goodyear (GT) dropped about 9% after the company cut its outlook for yearly volume and said its revenue and earnings came in below expectations due to a volatile U.S. commercial truck-tire business. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 70.13, or 0.39%, to 18,239.81, the Nasdaq was up 7.06, or 0.14%, to 5,223.03, and the S&P 500 was up 5.72, or 0.27%, to 2,138.76.