Stocks looked in pre-market trading like they were set for a down day as Republicans kicked off their public impeachment inquiry proceedings and Fed Chair Jerome Powell prepared to give testimony on Capitol Hill. The averages, however, have come off their early lows and all are in the green near the lunch hour as Powell continued to answer questions from lawmakers.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the headline Consumer Prices Index for October increased 0.4%, and the core rose 0.2%, with the former beating expectations.
In central bank news, Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said in written testimony prepared for his appearance today before the Joint Economic Committee that "my colleagues and I see a sustained expansion of economic activity, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2% objective as most likely...However, noteworthy risks to this outlook remain. In particular, sluggish growth abroad and trade developments have weighed on the economy and pose ongoing risks." Powell added that he and the FOMC "see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate" as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with the bank's outlook.
TOP NEWS: Google (GOOGL) plans to soon offer checking accounts to consumers under a project code-named Cache that is expected to launch next year with accounts run by Citigroup (C) and a credit union at Stanford University, The Wall Street Journal reported. Google's reported interest in banking comes after the recent launch of Goldman Sachs' (GS) partnership with Apple (AAPL) for the Apple Card, and also follows the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services opening a federal investigation into Google and Ascension's "Project Nightingale," which amasses detailed health data of millions of patients.
Nike (NKE) will stop selling its sneakers and apparel directly on Amazon's (AMZN) website, ending a pilot program that began in 2017, Bloomberg's Eben Novy-Williams and Spencer Soper report. The move follows the naming of former eBay (EBAY) CEO John Donahoe as its next CEO. In a statement, the company said: "As part of Nike's focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail... We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally." Nomura Instinet analyst Michael Baker said Nike's reported decision to stop selling product directly to Amazon should be positive for Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), which he identifies as one of Nike's "most valuable" partners.
In M&A news, Tech Data (TECD) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management (APO) for $130 per share in a transaction with an enterprise value of approximately $5.4B. The purchase price represents a 24.5% premium to the unaffected 30-day volume weighted average closing share price of Tech Data's common stock ended October 15, the last trading day prior to published market speculation regarding a potential transaction, stated the company.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Datadog (DDOG), which rose 14% after it reported better than expected third quarter results and provided upbeat guidance for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2019.
Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Cardlytics (CDLX) and Luckin Coffee (LK), which gained a respective 33% and 13%.
Among the notable losers was Intelsat (I), which slid 30% after JPMorgan analyst Philip Cusick downgraded the stock to Neutral from Overweight and cut his price target on the shares to $22 from $34.
Also lower were SmileDirectClub (SDC) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ), which fell 19% and 13%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 58.57, or 0.21%, to 27,750.06, the Nasdaq was up 5.42, or 0.06%, to 8,491.51, and the S&P 500 was up 3.43, or 0.11%, to 3,095.27.