Stocks in green at midday after choppy morning of trade
The major averages have traded on both sides of the flat line, but are currently in the green, as persistent concern over the virus and a return of restrictive containment measures and disappointment over the lack of additional fiscal stimulus are weighed against investors' desire to buy the market's recent dip.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 870,000 in the week ended September 19. New home sales climbed another 4.8% to a 14-year high pace of 1.01M units in August.
TOP NEWS: Spotify (SPOT), Match Group (MTCH) and "Fortnite" creator Epic Games have joined a nonprofit group - the Coalition for App Fairness - that plans to advocate for legal and regulatory action to challenge Apple's (AAPL) App Store practices, Reuters' Stephen Nellis reports. Investors in Epic include Tencent (TCEHY), KKR (KKR), Disney (DIS), and Sony (SNE).
In M&A news, E.W. Scripps (SSP) announced a deal to buy national broadcast network ION Media for $2.65B, combining the business with Scripps' Katz networks and Newsy to create a full-scale national television networks business. As part of the agreement, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) will make a $600M preferred equity investment in Scripps to finance the transaction. Berkshire Hathaway also will receive a warrant to purchase up to 23.1M Class A shares, at an exercise price of $13 per share. Shares of E.W. Scripps are up 17% following the deal announcement.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Owens & Minor (OMI), which rose 57% after it raised its fiscal 2020 guidance. Also higher was Jefferies (JEF), which gained 9% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Nikola (NKLA), which slid 7% after Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives downgraded the stock to Underperform from Neutral with a price target of $15, down from $45. Also lower was Rite Aid (RAD), which fell 15% after reporting quarterly results and giving guidance.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 121.02, or 0.45%, to 26,884.15, the Nasdaq was up 122.46, or 1.15%, to 10,755.45, and the S&P 500 was up 21.84, or 0.67%, to 3,258.76.