Stocks mixed as markets continue to assess Middle East situation
The Dow and S&P 500 are a bit weaker at midday while the Nasdaq is fractionally higher with heightened fears of an outright U.S.-Iran war seeming to have lessened. WTI crude prices are down for the first time after five successive trading days of rising prices as markets are reappraising the situation in the Middle East.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit narrowed 8.2% to $43.1B in November versus October. The ISM non-manufacturing services index rose 1.1 points to 55.0 from a 53.9 figure in November. Factory orders declined 0.7% in November.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Apache (APA) have jump 25% after the company and partner Total S.A. (TOT) announced a "significant" oil discovery at the Maka Central-1 well drilled offshore Suriname. BofA analyst Doug Leggate, who sees this news as "potential game changer" for the investment case, upgraded Apache to Buy with a price target of $36 following the discovery news, while JPMorgan analyst Arun Jayaram upgraded Apache to Neutral from Underweight, stating that he thinks the market could give Apache credit for $2.2B in net value from Suriname.
Shares of T-Mobile (TMUS) are up 1% after the stock was upgraded at Nomura Instinet. Analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said he believes the company's deal to acquire Sprint (S) is more likely to break, but he considers T-Mobile shareholders winners in either a deal or no deal scenario.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Apellis (APLS), which rose 24% after announcing that pegcetacoplan met the study's primary efficacy endpoint, demonstrating superiority to eculizumab with a statistically significant improvement in adjusted means of 3.8 g/dL of hemoglobin at week 16.
Also higher was Himax (HIMX), which gained 11% after reporting preliminary Q4 earnings.
Among the notable losers was Clovis Oncology (CLVS), which slid 9% after it announced preliminary product revenues for Q4.
Also lower was Cerence (CRNC), which fell 8% after Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the stock with a Sell rating.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was down 110.89(-0.39%, to 28,592.49
, the Nasdaq was up 3.35(+0.04%, to 9,074.82
, and the S&P 500 was down 8.75(-0.27%, to 3,237.53.