On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
The market opened with a modest advance and then almost immediately moved higher and tacked on additional gains. The market moved in a narrow range all last week, but it has broken out above that range in the early trading, though the volume remains light as is typical for the final week of summer trading. Oil prices are down over 1.5% as supply and demand concerns keep a lid on the commodity. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., personal income rose 0.4% and spending gained 0.3% in July, exactly as expected. The Dallas Fed's manufacturing index fell 4.9 points to -6.2 in August after improving 17.0 points to -1.3 in July. COMPANY NEWS: After making headlines all last week on price controversy related to its EpiPen devices, Mylan (MYL) has announced that its U.S. subsidiary will launch the first generic to the EpiPen Auto-Injector at a list price of $300 per generic two-pack carton, which represents a discount of more than 50% to the list price of the branded medicine... Shares of Herbalife (HLF) are up about 2% near noon after Carl Icahn announced after the close on Friday his purchase of another 2.3M shares of the company's stock, adding that he continues to believe in the company and that he never ordered a sale of his holdings, contrary to statements by Bill Ackman... Williams Companies (WMB) has appointed three independent directors who will stand for election at the company's annual meeting on November 23. The announcement comes amid a proxy battle over board seats with Corvex Management's Keith Meister. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Fitbit (FIT), which has advanced over 2% after the company introduced sequels to two of its fitness wristbands, the Charge 2 and Flex 2. Also higher was Allegheny Technologies (ATI), which gained over 8% after Deutsche Bank analyst Jorge Beristain upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold, saying leverage concerns have eased following the closure of the company's Rowley facility. Additionally, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) rose almost 6% following the company's announcement that it has initiated a clinical study of its preventive Zika vaccine in 160 subjects in Puerto Rico, where the virus outbreak has been declared a public health emergency. Among the noteworthy losers was Caesars Entertainment (CZR), which dropped about 15% after disclosing that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that it will have to face creditor lawsuits related to debt owed by its bankrupt operating unit. Also lower was Core-Mark (CORE), which slipped almost 10% after the company announced the expiration of its supply agreement with Circle K Stores for the Southeastern Region of the U.S. effective January 2017. Additionally, Kratos Defense & Security (KTOS) slid about 4% after KeyBanc analyst Michael Ciarmoli downgraded the stock to Sector Weight from Overweight. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 120.87, or 0.66%, to 18,516.27, the Nasdaq was up 22.05, or 0.42%, to 5,240.97, and the S&P 500 was up 13.10, or 0.60%, to 2,182.14.