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Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Mostly Higher; Walgreen Profit Beats Expectations

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Mostly Higher; Walgreen Profit Beats Expectations

Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded up 0.39 percent to 18,029.69 while the NASDAQ slipped 0.11 percent to 4,776.17. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.21 percent to 2,082.84.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Tuesday morning, the cyclical consumer goods & services sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from CTC Media, Inc (NASDAQ: CTCM) and ReachLocal, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLOC).

In trading on Tuesday, healthcare shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 1.54 percent. Meanwhile, top decliners in the sector included Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN), down 12.7 percent, and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISIS), off 7.2 percent.

Top Headline

Walgreen Co (NYSE: WAG) reported stronger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based company posted quarterly net earnings of $809 million, or $0.85 per share, versus $695 million, or $0.72 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the company's adjusted earnings came in at $0.81 per share.

Its revenue climbed 6.7% to $19.55 billion, while total same-store sales rose 5.7%. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.75 per share on revenue of $19.49 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: VNDA) shares shot up 22 percent to $14.53 after the company announced its plans to acquire rights to Phase II clinical compound from Novartis (NYSE: NVS). Novartis will purchase $25 million of Vanda common stock.

Shares of NQ Mobile Inc. (NYSE: NQ) got a boost, shooting up 21.42 percent to $4.20 following news that the company has authorized an $80 million share buyback program.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK) shares were also up, gaining 6.51 percent to $19.62 after the company announced a $1 billion buyback plan. The company also closed the sale of Southern Marcellus and Utica Shale assets for net proceeds of $4.975 billion.

Equities Trading DOWN

Sky Solar Holdings, Ltd. (NASDAQ: SKYS) shares tumbled 11.46 percent to $10.93 after the company announced changes to its executive management team.

Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN) were down 11.10 percent to $13.77 after surging 9.01% on Monday. Baird downgraded Achillion Pharmaceuticals from Outperform to Neutral and raised the price target from $12.00 to $16.00.

Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) was down, falling 3.91 percent to $17.22 after the company reported downbeat quarterly revenue. However, the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.


In commodity news, oil traded up 2.06 percent to $56.40, while gold traded down 0.16 percent to $1,177.90.

Silver traded up 0.40 percent Tuesday to $15.75, while copper fell 0.47 percent to $2.86.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 climbed 0.55 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index gained 0.57 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index rose 0.82 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX surged 0.41 percent and the French CAC 40 rose 1.12 percent while UK shares gained 0.43 percent.


The ICSC-Goldman Store Sales Index rose 3.4% in the week ended Saturday versus the earlier week.

US durable-goods orders slipped 0.7% in Novembers, versus economists’ expectations for a 3.3% gain.

The US economy expanded at an annual pace of 5.0% in the third quarter, versus economists’ expectations for a 4.3% growth.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index dropped 0.8% in the first three weeks of December versus November.

The FHFA house price index rose 0.60% in October, versus economists’ expectations for a 0.30% growth.

The final reading of Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index slipped to 93.60 in December, versus a prior reading of 93.80. However, economists were expecting a reading of 93.50.

US consumer spending climbed 0.6% in November, versus economists’ expectations for a 0.5% gain. Personal income gained 0.4% in November, versus expectations for a 0.5% rise.

Sales of new homes dropped 1.6% to an annual rate of 438,000 in November. However, economists were expecting a rate of 460,000.

The Richmond Fed manufacturing index surged to 7.00 in December, versus a prior reading of 4.00. However, economists were estimating a reading of 7.00.

The Treasury is set to auction 4-week bills and 5-year notes.


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