On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks opened sharply higher and continued to tack on gains throughout the morning. In the process, the S&P crossed 2,600 for the first time and the Nasdaq hit a new all-time high. Meanwhile, oil prices are higher by 0.5% after struggling the past few sessions. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., existing home sales grew 2.0% to a 5.48M unit rate in October, beating estimates. COMPANY NEWS: As widely anticipated, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed last night that it is suing to block AT&T (T) and Time Warner's (TWX) merger deal. In response, AT&T's General Counsel said the lawsuit is "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent" and the company is "confident that the Court will reject the Government's claims" and permit the merger. Meanwhile, another U.S. regulator made its own proposal that could benefit AT&T, as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally proposed to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers following their earnings reports were Jacobs Engineering (JEC), which rose 9%, and Medtronic (MDT), which added 5%. Among the noteworthy losers following their earnings reports were Campbell Soup (CPB), which dropped 8%, DSW (DSW), which fell 13%, and Signet Jewelers (SIG), which fell 27%. Also lower was Cytokinetics (CYTK), which plunged 27% after the company announced that the Phase 3 tirasemtiv study in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients missed on both primary and secondary endpoints. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 176.15, or 0.75%, to 23,606.48, the Nasdaq was up 64.05, or 0.94%, to 6,854.77, and the S&P 500 was up 16.98, or 0.66%, to 2,599.12.