The major averages are mixed and little changed at midday after Wall Street rallied to fresh record highs yesterday on a combination of upbeat earnings and expectations that vaccines, government stimulus and the Fed's commitment to maintain extraordinary accommodation can help the economy rebound later this year.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims fell 26,000 to 900,000 in the week ended January 16. Housing starts sharply beat estimates with a 5.8% December rise to a 14-year high pace of 1.67M, while building permits rose by 4.5% to a 14-year high rate of 1.71M. The Philly Fed manufacturing index rebounded to 17.4 points to 26.5 in January, which was much stronger than expected and represents an 11-month high.
In Europe, the ECB stated its Governing Council has "decided to reconfirm its very accommodative monetary policy stance." In addition to its key interest rates remaining unchanged at low, or negative, levels, the ECB said it will continue purchases under the pandemic emergency purchase and asset purchase programs.
TOP NEWS: Shares of United Airlines (UAL) are 7% lower near noon after the company's revenue missed expectations in the fourth quarter and its losses were steeper than forecast. While accelerated distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine "may lead to faster improvement," the company is "not including this potential improvement in its first quarter 2021 revenue outlook," said United, which sees its first quarter operating revenue to be down 65%-70% and expects capacity to be down at least 51% versus the first quarter of 2019.
In other earnings news, Travelers (TRV) shares are up 2% after the property-casualty insurer and Dow Jones Industrial Average member reported better than expected core earnings per share.
In COVID-19 news, Eli Lilly (LLY) announced that bamlanivimab, or LY-CoV555, significantly reduced the risk of contracting symptomatic COVID-19 among residents and staff of long-term care facilities in a Phase 3 trial. Bamlanivimab is a human antibody discovered by AbCellera (ABCL) and developed with Eli Lilly.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Diebold (DBD), which rose 14% after JPMorgan analyst Paul Chung upgraded the stock to Overweight from Neutral.
Also higher was TAL Education (TAL), which gained 15% after reporting quarterly results. In addition, shares of Under Armour (UAA) are up 1% in midday trading after Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell upgraded the stock to Buy as he expects benefits from multiple years of resetting the cost base, improving inventory control and pricing, and altering the distribution mix.
Among the notable losers was Dyne Therapeutics (DYN), which declined 21% after its 6M share secondary offering priced at $28 per share.
Also lower was INmune Bio (INMB), which fell 16% after announcing that results from a Phase 1b study demonstrate that XPro1595, an investigational dominant-negative protein that neutralizes soluble TNF, decreases biomarkers of neuroinflammation across multiple measures and assays in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 25.74, or 0.08%, to 31,162.64, the Nasdaq was up 48.70, or 0.36%, to 13,505.95, and the S&P 500 was flat at 3,851.68.