On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks opened with the solid gains, led by the Nasdaq, the clear early leader. The Dow and S&P played catch-up and by midday were also sporting decent gains. The market drifted in a narrow range ahead of the release of the minutes from last month's FOMC meeting. The market's initial reaction to the minutes was to rally, though the averages were unable to hold their gains and finished the day lower across the board following a late-session selloff. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's manufacturing PMI rose 0.4 points to 55.9 in the flash February print. The flash services index jumped 2.6 points, also to a reading of 55.9. Existing home sales fell 3.2% to a 5.38M unit rate. In Fed news, minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting said that the Fed sees tax cuts boosting GDP growth "moderately" over the medium term. The Fed added that the unemployment rate was projected to decline further over the next few years and to continue to run well below the staff's estimate of its longer-run natural rate over this period. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Qualcomm (QCOM) fell about 1% to $63.40 after Broadcom (AVGO) reaffirmed its commitment to acquiring the company but lowered its offer to $79 per Qualcomm share from $82 citing Qualcomm's decision to "transfer...$6.2B of value from Qualcomm stockholders to NXP stockholders." Broadcom added that its proposed merger agreement would provide for an automatic increase of $3 in cash per Qualcomm share in the event that Qualcomm is unable to complete its planned acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI). Later on, Qualcomm issued a statement saying that Broadcom's revised proposal makes "an inadequate offer even worse" and that Broadcom continues to refuse to engage on price... Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN) was in focus as its shares hit $1,500 for the first time this afternoon. Amazon closed the session up 1% at $1,482.92. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Finish Line (FINL), which rose 7% after Buckingham upgraded the stock to Neutral from Underperform on valuation. Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Quad/Graphics (QUAD) and Advance Auto Parts (AAP), which gained a respective 26% and 8%. Among the notable losers was Inovalon (INOV), which fell 8% after it announced the resignation of its CFO and COO Christopher Greiner, who accepted the position of CFO of LivePerson (LPSN). Also lower after reporting quarterly results were Tile Shop (TTS), and U.S. Silica (SLCA), which fell a respective 27% and 18%. INDEXES: The Dow fell 166.97, or 0.67%, to 24,797.78, the Nasdaq lost 16.08, or 0.22%, to 7,218.23, and the S&P 500 declined 14.93, or 0.55%, to 2,701.33.