Market Overview

Mid-Day Market Update: Zosano Pharma Surges Following Patent Issuance; Atlas Financial Shares Slide


Midway through trading Friday, the Dow traded down 1.35 percent to 24,276.81 while the NASDAQ declined 0.52 percent to 7,143.24. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.69 percent to 2,659.20.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

On Friday, the non-cyclical consumer goods & services shares gained 0.50 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: APEI), up 15 percent, and SpartanNash Co (NASDAQ: SPTN), up 10 percent.

In trading on Friday, basic materials shares tumbled 1.40 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (ADR) (NYSE: SID), down 7 percent, and Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZEUS) down 13 percent.

Top Headline

J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP) reported upbeat earnings for its fourth quarter, while sales missed estimates.

The department store earned 57 cents per share on revenue of $4.03 billion versus expectations of 47 cents and $4.05 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 2.6 percent, missing analysts’ expectations for a 2.9 percent growth.

The company also guided its fiscal 2018 EPS to a range of 5 cents to 25 cents per share versus expectations of 20 cents per share.

Equities Trading UP

Zosano Pharma Corp (NASDAQ: ZSAN) shares shot up 46 percent to $7.97 as the company reported the issuance of a new US patent covering M207 as an acute treatment for migraine.

Shares of Verona Pharma plc (NASDAQ: VRNA) got a boost, shooting up 19 percent to $16.50 after the company disclosed 'positive' top-line data from Phase 2a trial with RPL554 in cystic fibrosis patients.

Vectrus Inc (NYSE: VEC) shares were also up, gaining 25 percent to $34.30 as the company posted better-than-expected quarterly results and issued a strong FY18 outlook.

Equities Trading DOWN

Atlas Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: AFH) shares dropped 42 percent to $10.85 after the company issued weak FY 2018 forecast.

Shares of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: BW) were down 18 percent to $4.99. Babcock & Wilcox reported a Q4 loss of $0.95 per share on sales of $408.1 million.
Engility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EGL) was down, falling around 21 percent to $21.75. Engility reported Q4 GAAP loss of $1.62 per share on sales of $464.8 million.


In commodity news, oil traded down 0.98 percent to $60.39 while gold traded up 1.20 percent to $1,320.80.

Silver traded up 1.28 percent Friday to $16.485, while copper fell 0.37 percent to $3.1115.


European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 1.97 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 2.07 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped 2.56 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX dropped 2.27 percent, and the French CAC 40 fell 2.38 percent while U.K. shares fell 1.39 percent.


The final reading of University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index declined to 99.7 in February, versus an initial reading of 99.9. Economists projected a reading of 99.5 reading.

The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week will be released at 1:00 p.m. ET.


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