Stocks were mixed at midday as technology shares got a boost from analysts' positive commentary on the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Micron Technology (MU) ahead of earnings. Outside of earnings reporting, which picked up in volume this morning and will accelerate further as the week continues, reports indicate that Congress and the White House are on the brink of an agreement that would raise the debt limit for two years, but the question remains whether President Donald Trump will support the tentative deal. On the trade front, reports said Chinese firms have applied to purchase U.S. agricultural products and that face-to-to-face meetings between the U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators could happen before the end of July.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago National Activity index ticked up 0.01 points to -0.02 in June.
TOP NEWS: Equifax (EFX) announced a $671M resolution - which includes settlement agreements that would resolve a multi-district consumer class action litigation, as well as investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Attorneys General of 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and the New York Department of Financial Services - related to its 2017 cybersecurity incident. Equifax has agreed to pay at least $575M, and potentially up to $700M, as part of the global settlement, the FTC stated.
Shares of Micron rose 4% after Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney upgraded the stock to Buy as he is now more positive on global memory stocks and believes the excess inventory memory companies are carrying will be depleted faster than previous expectations.
In M&A news, Vail Resorts (MTN) agreed to acquire Peak Resorts (SKIS) for $11 per share in a $264M deal that Stifel analyst Brad Boyer said he views as a "win-win" for the ski slope operators. Peak shares are up 113% at midday following the deal announcement, while Vail shares are up 3%.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Beyond Meat (BYND), which rose 9% after it saw a positive mention in this week's edition of Barron's.
Also higher was Halliburton (HAL), which gained 7.5% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was PaySign (PAYS), which slid 16% after BTIG analyst Mark Palmer downgraded the stock to Sell from Neutral with a $12 price target.
Also lower was Cadence Bancorp (CADE), which fell 18% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 5.13, or 0.02%, to 27,149.07, the Nasdaq was up 50.47, or 0.62%, to 8,196.96, and the S&P 500 was up 5.85, or 0.20%, to 2,982.46.