Stocks mixed as S&P and Dow pull back after hitting record highs
The major averages are mixed at midday, with the Nasdaq slightly higher and the Dow and S&P a bit lower after the latter two closed at record levels yesterday.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 30,000 to 778,000 in the week ended November 21. Third quarter GDP growth was left unrevised at 33.1% from the advance report. The advance goods trade deficit widened to $80.3B in October. Personal income declined 0.7% in October and spending increased 0.5%, both of which were disappointing. New home sales fell 0.3% to a 999K pace in October. The University of Michigan consumer confidence survey was revised slightly lower to 76.9 in the final print for November, versus the decline to 77.0 in the preliminary reading. The durable goods report sharply exceeded estimates across the board, with a 1.3% October headline orders gain.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Slack Technologies (WORK) are up about 26% near noon after Cara Lombardo, Liz Hoffman and Dana Cimilluca of The Wall Street Journal said that Salesforce.com (CRM) has recently been in talks to acquire the workplace communications tool maker.
In other M&A news, Intuit (INTU) and Credit Karma announced that they have entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, which they call "an important step" in completing their previously announced merger. Intuit and Credit Karma also announced Credit Karma's agreement with Square (SQ), pursuant to which Credit Karma will divest its Credit Karma Tax business to Square.
Additionally, ViacomCBS (VIAC) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the publishing business Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann, for $2.18B in cash. Following the deal announcement, News Corp. (NWSA) CEO Robert Thomson weighed in with his view, stating: "There is clearly no market logic to a bid of that size - only anti-market logic. Bertelsmann is not just buying a book publisher, but buying market dominance as a book behemoth... There will certainly be legal books written about this deal, though I wonder if Bertelsmann would publish them."
In earnings news, Deere (DE) reported what Baird analyst Mircea Dobre called a "strong" Q4 operating beat and gave FY21 implied EPS of about $11.50-$12.75 that was "well above" consensus. However, the shares are down about 1% at midday following the earnings report and associated conference call.
Meanwhile, Dell Technologies (DELL) and HP Inc. (HPQ) are moving in opposite directions following quarterly reports from both PC makers. Near noon, Dell shares have slid 3% while HP Inc. shares are up 2%.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was WidePoint (WYY), which rose 42% after the company announced it was awarded a Cellular Wireless Managed Services 2.0 Contract valued at up to $500M from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Also higher was Fisker (FSR), which gained 26% after Citi analyst Itay Michaeli initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating and $26 price target.
Among the notable losers was Nikola (NKLA), which dropped 11% as investors focus on the 161M shares that are free to trade on December 1 and uncertainty around the General Motors (GM) partnership negotiations continue to weigh on investors' minds, according to JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster.
Also lower was Gap (GPS), which fell 19% after reporting earnings.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 167.19, or 0.56%, to 29,879.05
, the Nasdaq was up 37.23(+0.31%, to 12,074.02
, and the S&P 500 was down 7.18, or 0.20%, to 3,628.23