On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks are lower at midday, but not far from where they ended yesterday, which may evidence some fatigue after the number of big economic events that have recently been cleared from the calendar. With the recent decisions from the Fed and Bank of Japan and the first presidential debate now in the rear mirror, investors will next be focused on the September jobs report next Friday and the second presidential debate two days later. Until then, the market may be in for more of the same range bound action. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., orders for durable goods were unchanged in August. When excluding transportation products, sales declined 0.4%, which was roughly in-line with expectations. Crude oil inventories showed a 1.88M drawdown last week, versus the consensus forecast for a 3.0M barrel build-up. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Fed Chair Janet Yellen did not comment on policy or the economy. She noted that standards for the largest banks are "significantly more stringent" than for small and medium sized banks, and warned the Fed must continue to carefully monitor the impact of the regulatory changes that have been made, and remain vigilant to new risks to financial stability that might emerge. COMPANY NEWS: Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO John Stumpf will forfeit much of his 2016 salary, including his bonus and $41M in unvested equity, as the company's independent directors launch an investigation into its retail banking practices... Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY) have gained about 3% near noon after the company reported earnings, gave a more upbeat view on its estimate for potential losses this fiscal year, and announced CFO James Yersh is leaving the company for personal reasons. Additionally, BlackBerry said it will stop in-house development of phones and outsource its hardware efforts to its partners... Shares of Nike (NKE) have dropped about 3% after the company's future orders missed analysts' estimates for the third time in a row. Nonetheless, Nike announced better than expected quarterly revenue and profit. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Harmonic (HLIT), which has advanced nearly 20% after announcing it has entered into a warrant agreement with Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) that provides the latter with the opportunity to acquire shares of common stock of Harmonic. Also higher was Dillard's (DDS), which gained almost 6% after Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral, citing the company's consistency in capital allocation and its valuation, which he says is at the low end of its historic trading range. Among the noteworthy losers was Ferrellgas Partners (FGP), which dropped 24% after the company reported worse than expected fourth quarter results and announced that James Ferrell has been appointed interim president and CEO after the departure of Stephen Wambold. Following the news, the stock was downgraded to Underweight at JPMorgan and Piper Jaffray. Also lower was Sonic (SONC), which slipped about 7.5% after reporting weaker than expected preliminary fourth quarter results. Additionally, Twitter (TWTR) slid more than 4% after analysts at both Nomura and Loop Capital downgraded the stock to Sell or equivalent ratings while making cautious comments about whether the company will be acquired and, if so, at what price. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 22.94, or 0.13%, to 18,205.36, the Nasdaq was down 13.18, or 0.25%, to 5,292.54, and the S&P 500 was down 4.94, or 0.23%, to 2,154.99.