On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session in negative territory but the losses were modest. There was little fuel for the bulls, as the jobless claims data was in-line with expectations while the durable goods orders report went largely unnoticed. The renewed concern on drug pricing, reignited by the recent attention on Mylan's (MYL) EpiPen product, remained an overhang. Despite the pressure from the drug sector, the market has managed to get back to positive ground and the major averages are now hugging the flat line. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., durable goods orders jumped 4.4% in July from the prior month. Initial jobless claims dipped 1,000 to 261,000 in the week that ended on August 19. Markit's flash services PMI fell back to 50.9 in August. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Mylan rose in morning trading after the company announced that it is reducing the patient cost of its EpiPen Auto-Injector through the use of a savings card which will cover up to $300 for their EpiPen 2-Pak. "We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines. Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them," CEO Heather Bresch said. This follows yesterday's news of additional scrutiny surrounding the pricing of its EpiPen product, including criticism by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and an information request from the Senate Special Committee on Aging... The Federal Trade Commission announced that Tesla (TSLA) was granted early termination for its planned acquisition of SolarCity (SCTY). This means that the FTC and Department of Justice Antitrust Division have completed their review and determined not to take any enforcement action... Shares of HP Inc. (HPQ) have dropped about 1% near noon after the company reported better than expected third quarter results but lowered the high-end of its full-year profit guidance. Following the release, Maxim analyst Nehal Chokshi downgraded the stock to Hold. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Tiffany (TIF), which has advanced 7% after the company beat earnings per share expectations in the quarter and maintained its outlook. Also higher was Guess (GES), which gained over 23% after its own earnings report. B. Riley analyst Jeff Van Sinderen upgraded the stock to Buy, saying he believes the "end game" for Guess will be a sale of the company. Additionally, Netflix (NFLX) rose more than 3% after William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart upgraded the stock to Outperform, saying he sees more room for revenue growth in the U.S. than appreciated. Among the noteworthy losers were Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Dollar General (DG), which dropped over 8% and 14%, respectively, after the companies reported worse than expected quarterly results. Also lower was after earnings was Signet Jewelers (SIG), which slipped almost 14% after second quarter earnings missed expectations, with third quarter guidance also weaker than expected. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 11.67, or 0.06%, to 18,469.81, the Nasdaq was up 6.48, or 0.12%, to 5,224.18, and the S&P 500 was up 0.98, or 0.05%, to 2,176.42.