On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
The S&P and Dow were slightly lower near midday, while the Nasdaq slid further, repeating the trend of underperformance seen from the tech-heavy index in recent days. If today's modest pullback holds into the close it will break the winning streak for the Dow, which has risen for ten straight sessions. Trading is thin, with some of the lack of volume likely due to reduced participation given the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims fell 23,000 to 259,000 in the week ended September 16. The Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey rose to a robust 23.8 from 18.9 in August. The FHFA home price index for July rose 0.2%, versus the 0.4% increase that was expected. The leading index rose 0.4% to 128.8 in August following a 0.3% increase in the prior month. In Asia, Standard & Poor's downgraded China's sovereign rating to A+ from AA-, becoming the last of the three major rating agencies to do so. COMPANY NEWS: Equifax (EFX) remains in the headlines over its recent disclosure of a massive cybersecurity breach, with the latest coming from The Wall Street Journal, which reported that hackers entered the company's computer network in March of this year, more than four months before its security team uncovered them. Meanwhile, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton in a statement late Wednesday disclosed the agency itself was the victim of a hack in 2016... Following yesterday's report that Tesla (TSLA) is working with AMD (AMD) on self-driving Artificial Intelligence chips, several Wall Street analysts commented on the news. While some were bullish on the opportunity for AMD, others like Bank of America Merrill Lynch argued that Tesla's reported shift away from Nvidia (NVDA) has limited impact on either. Nvidia shares, though, were down 3% near noon on the heels of the report... Google (GOOGL) announced a cooperation agreement that involves HTC receiving $1.1B after transferring certain R&D employees to Google's hardware team and a licensing agreement for HTC intellectual property. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Calgon Carbon (CCC), which jumped 62% after agreeing to be acquired by Japan's Kuraray for $21.50 per share in a deal with an equity value of about $1.1B. Also higher was Andarko (APC), which gained 7% after announcing a $2.5B share repurchase program. Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) was among the noteworthy losers, dropping 9% after the FDA, in a new safety communication sent out today on the company's Ocaliva drug, said it identified 19 cases of death and warned of an increased risk of serious liver injury in certain patients. Also lower was Transocean (RIG), which slipped 7% after announcing that a subsidiary of Chevron (CVX) elected to exercise its contractual option to terminate the drilling contract for an ultra-deepwater drillship. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 24.62, or 0.11%, to 22,387.97, the Nasdaq was down 19.09, or 0.3%, to 6,436.95, and the S&P 500 was down 3.13, or 0.12%, to 2,505.11.