Mid-Day Market Update: Dow Rises 50 Points; H&R Block Shares Decline Following Weak Q3 Results
Midway through trading Friday, the Dow traded up 0.31 percent to 16,997.08 while the NASDAQ climbed 0.29 percent to 4,721.11. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.35 percent to 2,000.39.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
In trading on Friday, telecommunications services shares fell by 0.01 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Cogent Communications Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: CCOI), down 4 percent, and 8x8, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT), down 3 percent.
Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) reported weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.
Staples posted a quarterly profit of $86 million, or $0.13 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $260 million, or $0.41 per share. Its adjusted earnings came in at $0.26 per share.
Its sales dropped 6.9 percent to $5.23 billion from $5.66 billion. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $0.28 per share, on sales of $5.4 billion.
Equities Trading UP
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (NYSE: HPE) shares were also up, gaining 14 percent to $15.51 as the company reported upbeat earnings for its first quarter on Thursday.
Equities Trading DOWN
Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: VTAE) shares dropped 51 percent to $4.85. Vitae Pharmaceuticals reported a Q4 loss $0.52 per share on revenue of $92,000. Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Vitae Pharmaceuticals from Buy to Hold.
Shares of Nimble Storage Inc (NYSE: NMBL) were down 18 percent to $6.74 after the company issued a downbeat earnings outlook for the current quarter.
H & R Block Inc (NYSE: HRB) was down, falling around 18 percent to $27.09 as the company reported a wider-than-expected loss for its fiscal third quarter on Thursday.
In commodity news, oil traded up 1.13 percent to $34.96, while gold traded up 1.38 percent to $1,275.60.
Silver traded up 3.92 percent Friday to $15.74, while copper rose 2.63 percent to $2.27.
European shares were mostly higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 rose 0.42 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index gained 0.35 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell 0.98 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX gained 0.27 percent, and the French CAC 40 climbed 0.62 percent, while U.K. shares rose 0.72 percent.
The U.S. economy added 242,000 new jobs in February. However, economists were expecting a gain of 190,000 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent for the month.
The U.S. trade gap increased to $45.7 billion in January, versus a revised $44.7 billion, a month ago. U.S. exports declined 2.1 percent to $176.5 billion, while imports dropped 1.3 percent to $222.1 billion.
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