Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Higher; FedEx Profit Misses Estimates
Following the market opening Wednesday, the Dow traded up 0.10 percent to 16,352.70 while the NASDAQ gained 0.01 percent to 4,333.63. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.07 percent to 1,873.48.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Wednesday morning, the healthcare sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Horizon Pharma (NASDAQ: HZNP) and Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (NASDAQ: PTX). In trading on Wednesday, telecommunications services shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.39 percent. Top decliners in the sector included Shenandoah Telecommunications Co (NASDAQ: SHEN), off 3.3 percent, and CalAmp (NASDAQ: CAMP), down around 2.4 percent.
FedEx (NYSE: FDX) reported a 5% gain in its third-quarter profit. FedEx's quarterly profit surged to $378 million, or $1.23 per share, compared to a year-ago profit of $361 million or $1.13 per share. Its revenue climbed to $11.3 billion versus $11.0 billion. However, analysts were estimating earnings of $1.45 per share on revenue of $11.47 billion. FedEx projects current-quarter earnings of $2.25 to $2.50 per share, and full-year earnings of $6.55 to $6.80 per share.
Equities Trading UP
Prothena Corporation plc (NASDAQ: PRTA) shares shot up 21.60 percent to $45.19 after the company reported clinical data to be presented at International Symposium on Amyloidosis. Morgan Stanley raised the price target on the stock from $35.00 to $53.00.
Shares of Horizon Pharma (NASDAQ: HZNP) got a boost, shooting up 16.38 percent to $17.08 after the company announced its plans to acquire privately held Vidara Therapeutics International for around $660 million.
KB Home (NYSE: KBH) was also up, gaining 8.99 percent to $19.27 after the company swung to a profit in the fiscal first quarter. KB Home posted a quarterly profit of $10.6 million, or $0.12 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $12.5 million, or $0.16 per share.
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Renren (NYSE: RENN) were down 9.54 percent to $3.41 after the company reported Q4 results. Renren expected Q1 sales of $23.0 million to 25.0 million, versus analysts' estimates of $30.20 million.
Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW) shares tumbled 9.27 percent to $8.12 after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from Neutral to Sell.
Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) was down, falling 2.88 percent to $37.72 after the company reported weaker-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings. Oracle's quarterly profit surged to $2.57 billion, or $0.56 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $2.5 billion, or $0.52 per share. Its revenue jumped to $9.31 billion versus $8.96 billion. Its adjusted profit came in at $0.68 per share.
In commodity news, oil traded up 0.41 percent to $100.11, while gold traded down 1.03 percent to $1,345.10.
Silver traded down 0.54 percent Wednesday to $20.75, while copper fell 1.56 percent to $2.91.
European shares were mixed today.
The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.47 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell 0.11 percent.
Meanwhile, the German DAX jumped 0.58 percent and the French CAC 40 climbed 0.13 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.09 percent.
The MBA reported that its index of mortgage application activity declined 1.2% in the week ended March 14.
The US current account deficit shrank to $81.1 billion in the fourth quarter, versus a revised $96.4 billion in the third quarter.
The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET, while the Fed Chairman will hold press briefing at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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