The major averages have been mixed in morning trading, with the Nasdaq getting a boost from a pair of tech heavyweights that are rising following their quarterly reports. One of those two, Microsoft (MSFT), is a member of the Dow but its advance cannot fully offset the weight of 3M (MMM), which is dragging down the bluechip index after it cut its guidance and its headcount following a worse than expected start to the year.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., advance durable orders rebounded 2.7% in March, which was stronger than expected. Initial jobless claims rose 37,000 to 230,000 in the week ended April 20.
TOP NEWS: Microsoft topped $1T in market capitalization after its Q3 earnings report, powered by strength in its cloud offerings, fueled a 4% advance in the stock. Joining its mega-cap tech partner in a post-earnings rally, Facebook (FB) is up 7% near noon after the social media giant reported better than expected revenue, free cash flow, EPS and active user metrics. Of note, Facebook also estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3B in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into its platform and user data practices, stating that it sees that the range of loss in this matter as $3B-$5B.
Having a significantly worse reaction to its own quarterly report is 3M. The conglomerate is weighing down the Dow with its 11% decline after reporting worse than expected first quarter sales and profits, lowering its full-year earnings view and announcing plans to cut 2,000 positions worldwide to reflect "a slower than expected 2019." Also sliding after earnings is UPS (UPS), which is down 7% after the shipper posted worse than expected profit and revenue but backed its full-year earnings forecast.
In M&A news, Deutsche Bank (DB) announced that its Management Board has concluded that a combination with Commerzbank (CRZBY) "would not have created sufficient benefits to offset the additional execution risks, restructuring costs and capital requirements" and the two banks have decided to discontinue talks about a merger. Meanwhile, the UK Competition and Markets Authority published its final report on the proposed merger of Asda and Sainsbury's and prohibited the deal. Afterward, Bloomberg reported that Walmart is reviewing options for its Asda unit, including an IPO, after plans to merge the division with Sainsbury's fell through.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Fortune Brands (FBHS), which rose 6% after reporting better than expected quarterly results and reaffirming its fiscal 2019 guidance.
Also higher after reporting quarterly results were ServiceNow (NOW) and PayPal (PYPL), which gained a respective 7% and 2%.
Among the notable losers was Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP), which slid 26% after reporting downbeat quarterly results and cutting its dividend to 25c per share from 50c.
Also lower after reporting quarterly results were Consolidated Communications (CNSL) and Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), which fell 32% and 7%, respectively.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was down 125.17, or 0.47%, to 26,471.88
, the Nasdaq was up 22.73, or 0.28%, to 8,124.74
, and the S&P 500 was up 2.13, or 0.07%, to 2,929.38