Stocks opened in positive territory and have been trying to hang onto their gains throughout the morning. The averages have moved in a narrow range, with the Dow leading the way and though the Nasdaq briefly looked like it was going red it has bounced back near noon. Oil has moved higher as well, with gains of about 2% amid continued optimism surrounding a government funding deal and trade talks with China.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Consumer Prices Index was flat in January, with the core reading up 0.2%, meaning the inflation measure was cooler on the headline and as-expected for the core. DOE inventory data showed a weekly rise of 3.6M barrels in crude supplies.
TOP NEWS: In M&A news, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced that its Ethicon unit agreed to acquire Auris Health, a privately held developer of robotic technologies, for approximately $3.4B in cash. Additional contingent payments of up to $2.35B may be payable upon reaching certain milestones, the company noted.
Shares of Teva (TEVA) have dropped 9% after the drugmaker gave lower than expected guidance for the new fiscal year and said it plans to close 11 manufacturing facilities in 2019. After the report, Wells Fargo analyst David Maris said that while management comments on the call lead him to believe that Teva's well below consensus guidance may be a worst case scenario, it still indicates that 2019 will be more challenging than Wall Street had been expecting.
Levi Strauss & Co. announced that it has filed a registration statement with the SEC relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its Class A common stock. Levi Strauss intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "LEVI."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which rose 4% after it reported quarterly results and said it will cut 8% of its total headcount.
Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Diebold (DBD) and Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), which gained a respective 37% and 27%.
Among the notable losers was McDermott (MDR), which dropped 22% after stating that it expects to report an adverse change in estimate of approximately $168M, due to unfavorable labor productivity, and increases in subcontract, commissioning and construction management costs in the fourth quarter.
Also lower were Groupon (GRPN) and TripAdvisor (TRIP), which fell 14% and 7%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 95.59, or 0.38%, to 25,521.35, the Nasdaq was up 14.21, or 0.19%, to 7,428.83, and the S&P 500 was up 7.45, or 0.27%, to 2,752.18.