Stocks have been lower during the morning session amid weakness in a number of high-profile, high-value tech names, which is presenting an outsized drag on the Nasdaq in particular. One of those key tech stocks, Apple (AAPL), is only slightly lower ahead of the company's iPhone unveiling event.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the NFIB small business optimism index fell 1.5% to 103.1 in August. The JOLTS report showed job openings declined 31,000 to 7.217M in July.
In China, the Consumer Prices Index rose 2.8% in August, while the Producer Prices Index was down 0.8%.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Ford (F) are down about 3% after Moody's downgraded the company's senior unsecured debt rating to Ba1 from Baa3, putting it in high yield "junk" status. Commenting on the announcement, analysts at Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed that the downgrade does not change the Ford story or credit costs for now, though BofA's expert argued that Moody's move could be a harbinger of future downgrades for the company and even for the broader automotive value chain.
Wendy's (WEN) shares are down over 12% after the company announced plans to launch a breakfast menu nationwide in 2020 and cut its FY19 guidance due to related costs. In response, analysts at Guggenheim and BTIG downgraded the stock to Neutral, citing risks associated with the breakfast plans and the company's previous failed attempts in the category.
Apple shares are fractionally lower near noon ahead of the company's product launch event this afternoon, where the tech giant is expected to unveil the next generation of its flagship iPhones along with other product and service advances.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Maxar Technologies (MAXR), which rose 13% after JPMorgan analyst Benjamin Arnstein started coverage of the stock with an Overweight rating.
Also higher was Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (AUPH), which gained 12% after Oppenheimer analyst Justin Kim initiated the stock with an Outperform rating.
Among the notable losers was Heico (HEI), which slid 4% after its dB Control subsidiary acquired 100% of the stock of TTT-Cubed in an all-cash transaction.
Also lower was HD Supply (HDS), which fell 7% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was down 56.95, or 0.21%, to 26,778.56
, the Nasdaq was down 50.10, or 0.62%, to 8,037.34
, and the S&P 500 was down 16.09, or 0.54%, to 2,962.34.