Stocks opened in positive territory and have drifted higher during the early part of the session. The day’s host of economic data were mixed, but are likely responsible for little of the move higher, as the market appears to be bouncing from a short-term oversold condition. Oil prices are also bouncing off their recent lows with gains of more than 1.5%.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 224,000 in the week ended November 17. Durable goods orders dropped 4.4% in October, but much of the decline was in transportation orders, which fell 12.2%. Excluding transportation, orders edged up 0.1%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey fell 1.1 points to 97.5 in the final reading for November. That final figure was also down from the 98.3 preliminary look. Existing home sales bounced 1.4% to a 5.22M rate in October, which was a little stronger than expected. The leading index rose 0.1% to 112.1 in October, hitting another record high.
COMPANY NEWS: In another potential warning sign for Apple (AAPL), Bloomberg reported that Foxconn Technology Group, the biggest assembler of iPhones, plans to reduce expenses in 2019 by $2.9B amid a "very difficult and competitive year." The company plans to eliminate about 10% of non-technical staff, according to an internal company memo quoted by Bloomberg.
Deere (DE) reported Q4 sales and earnings that missed expectations, stating that the company "has continued to face cost pressures for raw materials such as steel," which it said are being addressed through pricing actions and ongoing cost management. The farm machinery maker, which projected equipment sales to increase by about 7% for fiscal 2019, is seeing its shares rise 4% following the quarterly report.
Shares of Gap (GPS) are also on the rise, gaining 4% after the company said during its earnings conference call that it is considering closing hundreds of underperforming namesake brand stores. The company reported flat comparable sales in the third quarter, as gains at Banana Republic and Old Navy were offset by the decline in the Gap brand.
In an interview with CNN, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said stepping down as the company's chairman is "not the plan." Zuckerberg also expressed support for Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, calling her "a really important part of this company."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Tandem Diabetes (TNDM), which rose 17% after Baird analyst Jeff Johnson upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral.
Also higher were Baozun (BZUN) and Foot Locker (FL), which gained a respective 12% and 14% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which was 3.5% lower after Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected the company's request to prevent generic versions of its prostate cancer drug Zytiga from entering the U.S. market while the company appeals a trial judge's ruling that invalidated a patent on the medicine.
Also lower was Caleres (CAL), which fell 8% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was up 125.47, or 0.51%, to 24,591.11, the Nasdaq was up 95.07, or 1.38%, to 7,003.89, and the S&P 500 was up 22.49, or 0.85%, to 2,664.38.