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Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Lower; Dow Chemical And DuPont Announce Merger


Following the market opening Friday, the Dow traded down 1.13 percent to 17,375.85 while the NASDAQ dipped 0.99 percent to 4,995.02. The S&P also fell, dropping 1.04 percent to 2,030.88.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

In trading on Friday, utilities shares slipped by just 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Empire District Electric Co (NYSE: EDE), up 20 percent, and CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP), up 3 percent.

Energy shares tumbled by 2.73 percent in the US market on Friday. Top losers in the sector included Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN), Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc (NYSE: HLX), and San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE: SJT).

Top Headline

Dow Chemical Co (NYSE: DOW) and E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE: DD) confirmed the earlier reports and announced an all-stock merger of equals.

The new entity will be named DowDuPont and will be separated into three independent, publicly traded companies via a tax-free spin-off.

Equities Trading UP

KMG Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: KMG) shares shot up 13 percent to $21.53 after the company reported upbeat Q1 earnings.

Shares of Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ: FNSR) got a boost, shooting up 15 percent to $13.40 after the company reported stronger-than-expected results for its fiscal second quarter.

Concord Medical Services Hldg Ltd (ADR) (NYSE: CCM) shares were also up, gaining 8 percent to $4.80 after the company declared a special dividend of $0.33 per share, or $0.99 per ADS.

Equities Trading DOWN

Argan, Inc. (NYSE: AGX) shares tumbled 11 percent to $31.55. Argan reported Q3 earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $113.967 million.

Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) were down 4 percent to $6.10. Ariad Pharma lowered its 2015 Iclusig revenue forecast to $110 million to $115 million.

Vince Holding Corp (NYSE: VNCE) was down, falling 18 percent to $4.61. Vince Holding reported Q3 earnings of $0.16 per share on revenue of $80.8 million. The company issued a weak earnings forecast for the full year.


In commodity news, oil traded down 2.20 percent to $35.95, while gold traded up 0.19 percent to $1,074.00.

Silver traded down 1.45 percent Friday to $13.91, while copper rose 2.22 percent to $2.12.


European shares were lower today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 fell 1.88 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index declined 1.32 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index dipped 1.73 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX slipped 2.23 percent, and the French CAC 40 slipped 1.80 percent, while U.K. shares fell 1.88 percent.


U.S. producer prices increased 0.3 percent in November, versus economists' expectations for a 0.1 percent growth.

US retail sales surged 0.2 percent in November, versus economists' expectations for a 0.3 percent gain.

US business inventories came in flat in October, versus economists' estimates of 0.10 percent growth.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 91.80 in December, versus prior reading of 91.30. However, economists were expecting a reading of 92.00.


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