Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Mostly Flat; Brown-Forman Posts Higher Profit
Following the market opening Wednesday, the Dow traded down 0.04 percent to 16,388.82 while the NASDAQ declined 0.03 percent to 4,350.62. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.01 percent to 1,874.18.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Wednesday morning, the industrials sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Arrowhead Research (NASDAQ: ARWR) and Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ: SWHC). In trading on Wednesday, energy shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.45 percent.
Brown-Forman (NYSE: BF-B) reported a 12% gain in its fiscal third-quarter profit and lifted its forecast for the year. Brown-Forman now expects full-year earnings of $2.95 to $3.05 per share, versus its earlier forecast of $2.80 to $3 per share. Brown-Forman's quarterly profit surged to $177 million, or $0.82 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $157 million, or $0.73 per share. Its net sales climbed 5% to $1.08 billion. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $0.75 per share on sales of $1.07 billion.
Equities Trading UP
FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL) shot up 18.08 percent to $3.20 after jumping 24.88% on Tuesday.
Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ: SWHC) got a boost, shooting up 17.12 percent to $13.82 after the company reported upbeat quarterly results. Cowen & Company upgraded the stock from Market Perform to Outperform and lifted the price target from $14.00 to $16.00.
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of XOMA (NASDAQ: XOMA) were down 21.93 percent to $7.37 after the company reported Q4 results and provided an update on its gevokizumab development program. Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from Outperform to Neutral.
The Chefs' Warehouse (NASDAQ: CHEF) shares tumbled 6.27 percent to $22.26 after the company reported Q4 results and issued a weak FY14 earnings outlook.
TransGlobe Energy (NASDAQ: TGA) was down, falling 6.40 percent to $7.31 on Q4 results.
In commodity news, oil traded down 0.34 percent to $102.98, while gold traded down 0.02 percent to $1,337.60.
Silver traded up 0.27 percent Wednesday to $21.28, while copper fell 0.02 percent to $3.21.
European shares were mostly lower today.
The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.63 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index surged 0.61 percent.
Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 0.21 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 0.10 percent while U.K. shares declined 0.57 percent.
The MBA reported that its index of mortgage application activity rose 9.40% in the week ended February 28.
Private sector employers added 139,000 jobs in February, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc. However, economists were expecting an addition of 155,000 jobs in the month.
The Markit PMI services index came in at 53.30 for February.
The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to 51.60 in February, versus a prior reading of 54.00. However, economists were expecting a reading of 53.50.
The Federal Open Market Committee will release its latest Beige Book report at 2:00 p.m. ET.
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