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Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open LOwer; AXA To Acquire XL Group For $57.60/Share


Following the market opening Monday, the Dow traded down 0.49 percent to 24,418.24 while the NASDAQ declined 0.57 percent to 7,216.84. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.45 percent to 2,679.20.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Monday morning, the non-cyclical consumer goods & services shares gained 0.40 percent.

In trading on Monday, industrial shares tumbled 0.59 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK), down 9 percent, and Textainer Group Holdings Limited (NYSE: TGH) down 4 percent.

Top Headline

AXA announced plans to acquire XL Group Ltd. (NYSE: XL) for $15.3 billion.

AXA offered $57.60 per share for XL, representing a 33 percent premium over XL’s closing price on Friday.


Equities Trading UP

Clearside Biomedical Inc (NASDAQ: CLSD) shares shot up 44 percent to $11.23 after the clinical biopharmaceutical company announced an encouraging update from ongoing clinical studies. The company said its pivotal phase 3 clinical trial of its suprachoroidal CLS-TA in patients with macular edema achieved positive topline results.

Shares of GTx, Inc. (NASDAQ: GTXI) got a boost, shooting up 22 percent to $20.46 as the company issued Phase 2 data for enobosarm for urinary incontinence.

XL Group Ltd. (NYSE: XL) shares were also up, gaining 30 percent to $56.15 after the insurance company agreed to sell itself to France's AXA for $15 billion, or $57.60 per share.

Equities Trading DOWN

Dermira Inc (NASDAQ: DERM) shares dropped 63 percent to $9.40 as the company disclosed that its two Phase 3 trials evaluating olumacostat glasaretil in patients with acne vulgaris did not meet co-primary endpoints.

Shares of Sparton Corporation (NYSE: SPA) were down 25 percent to $17.25 after the company reported termination of merger agreement with Ultra.
Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMSI) was down, falling around 23 percent to $1.65 as the company announced a $5 million private placement.


In commodity news, oil traded up 0.28 percent to $61.42 while gold traded up 0.06 percent to $1,324.20.

Silver traded up 0.30 percent Monday to $16.515, while copper fell 0.46 percent to $3.11.


European shares were mostly higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.66 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.41 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped 0.81 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 0.84 percent, and the French CAC 40 rose 0.34 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.23 percent.


U.S. Markit services PMI rose to 55.90 for February, versus previous reading of 53.30. Economists expected a reading of 55.90.

The ISM non-manufacturing index slipped to 59.50 for February, versus a prior reading of 59.90. However, economists were expecting a reading of 59.90.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.

The TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index for February is schedule for release at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Randal Quarles is set to speak in Washington, DC at 1:15 p.m. ET.


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