Stocks opened in negative territory ahead of the start of the G-20 meeting in Argentina. The averages, which saw their lows a short time after the open, have drifted back and forth across the flat line several times during morning trading and currently stand little changed. Oil prices continue to be pressured, though WTI is off its earlier lows at roughly $51 a barrel near noon.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago PMI jumped 8 points to 66.4 in November. In China, the National Bureau of Statistics' manufacturing PMI eased further in November, falling 0.2 points to 50.0, hitting its lowest level since July 2016. Most importantly, the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires kicked off and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if Saturday's dinner between President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping "wasn't a success."
COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Marriott (MAR) have fallen 5% after the hotel giant announced that it has taken measures to investigate and address a data security incident involving the Starwood guest reservation database. The company said that the investigation determined that there was unauthorized access to the database, which contained guest information relating to reservations at Starwood properties. Marriott said that for approximately 327M guests, the information included some combination of sensitive data such as name, mailing address, phone number, email address or passport number.
On the earnings front, VMware (VMW) shares were 2% higher near noon after the company reported better than expected third quarter results and raised its earnings and revenue guidance for 2019. Of note, VMware said that Q3 license revenue rose 17% year-over-year.
HP Inc. (HPQ) also reported better than expected quarterly results and provided earnings guidance for the first quarter and fiscal 2019. Following the report, BMO Capital analyst Tim Long maintained his Market Perform rating on the stock, saying that the results were "largely without surprise."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was EQGP Holdings (EQGP), which gained 17.5% after it agreed to be acquired by Equitrans Midstream (ETRN) for $20 per unit in cash. Equitrans shares were 3% lower after the news. Also higher were Ambarella (AMBA) and Workday (WDAY), which gained a respective 19% and 13% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM), which fell 14% after it announced the departure of CEO Amin Maredia. Also lower was GameStop (GME), which declined 6% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 25.32, or 0.10%, to 25,313.52, the Nasdaq was up 14.61, or 0.20%, to 7,287.69, and the S&P 500 was up 4.65, or 0.17%, to 2,742.41.