Stocks had a mostly quiet trading day and finished mixed, with the Dow notching a narrow gain and the Nasdaq slipping. The tech heavy index may have been pressured by the continuing regulatory headwinds faced by the biggest names in the space, including Google, which is facing a new probe from the attorneys general of nearly every state in the country.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., consumer credit surged $23.3B in July, stronger than forecast, after increasing $13.8B in June and $16.8B in May.
In China, the trade surplus for August was nearly 20% smaller than expected as imports contracted less than expected and exports increased less than expected. The report may suggest domestic demand is holding up better than expected while international demand for Chinese goods was weaker than anticipated.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) were in focus after a group of 50 state attorneys general, led by Texas AG Ken Paxton, announced that they are joining up to launch an investigation into Google to examine whether the search giant has stifled competitors in a manner that's harmful to users. In an official announcement on the matter, Paxton said that the probe is not a lawsuit, but rather an "investigation to determine the facts." The group of AGs is comprised of attorneys general from 48 states, as well as AGs representing the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, but is notably missing attorneys general from Alabama and California, according to Business Insider's Nick Bastone.
Shares of AT&T (T) rose 1.5% after Elliott Management disclosed that it has built a $3.2B stake in the stock and sent a letter to the company's board outlining what it sees as a "compelling value-creation opportunity" that could lead AT&T to a $60+ per share value by the end of 2021. In response, AT&T said it will review Elliott Management's perspectives, adding that "many of the actions outlined are ones we are already executing today." Meanwhile, CNBC's Alex Sherman reported that Elliott would prefer that CEO Randall Stephenson step down from his position and does not think newly promoted COO John Stankey should replace Stephenson as CEO. In addition, the New York Post's Josh Kosman reported that AT&T has hired Goldman Sachs (GS) to defend itself against Elliott.
Amgen (AMGN) shares fell 2.6% after the company announced new data from the ongoing Phase 1 study evaluating AMG 510 in patients with previously treated KRAS G12C-mutated solid tumors. Meanwhile, shares of Eli Lilly (LLY) also slipped 2.6% after the drugmaker issued an update on selpercatinib at the World Conference on Lung Cancer meeting.
Meanwhile, Grand Canyon Education (LOPE) was in focus after Andrew Left's Citron Research called the stock the firm's "favorite short in YEARS," saying the company is "DEAD or fraud" in a series of tweets. Following the news, shares initially plunged over 5% before ending the session 2.9% higher.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Acadia (ACAD), which surged 63.2% after announcing that its Phase 3 HARMONY study evaluating pimavanserin for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis met its primary endpoint, demonstrating a statistically significant longer time to relapse of psychosis with pimavanserin compared to placebo in a planned interim efficacy analysis. Also higher was Changyou.com (CYOU), which gained 49.3% after Sohu.com (SOHU) announced that it has submitted to the board of its majority-owned subsidiary a preliminary non-binding proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares it does not already own for $5 per Class A ordinary share, or $10 per ADS, in cash. Sohu shares rose 6.6% after the news.
Among the notable losers was PaySign (PAYS), which slid 21.3% after cutting its fiscal 2019 revenue guidance. Also lower was Covetrus (CVET), which fell 1.2% after the stock was initiated with a Sell rating at Goldman Sachs.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 38.05, or 0.14%, to 26,835.51, the Nasdaq lost 15.64, or 0.19%, to 8,087.44, and the S&P 500 declined 0.28, or 0.009%, to 2,978.43.