Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; Mastercard Profit Beats Expectations


Following the market opening Friday, the Dow traded up 1.19 percent to 16,261.47 while the NASDAQ climbed 1.02 percent to 4,552.42. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.02 percent to 1,912.67.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

On Friday, telecommunications services shares rose by 1.58 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE: DCM), up 7 percent, and KT Corp (ADR) (NYSE: KT) up 8 percent.

In trading on Friday, basic materials shares rose by just 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE: EMN), down 10 percent, and DRDGOLD Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: DRD), down 6 percent.

Top Headline

Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) reported better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter, but the company's revenue missed analysts' estimates.

MasterCard's quarterly profit surged to $890 million, or $0.79 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $801 million, or $0.69 per share, in the year-ago period.

Its revenue rose 4 percent to $2.5 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.69 per share on revenue of $2.59 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Axiall Corp (NYSE: AXLL) shares shot up 89 percent to $18.48. Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) proposed to acquire Axiall for $20.00 per share in cash and stock. However, Axiall rejected the offer from Westlake.

Shares of Avenue Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: AVNU) got a boost, shooting up 47 percent to $20.21 as the company agreed to be acquired by Pinnacle Financial Partners (NASDAQ: PNFP).

Coherent, Inc. (NASDAQ: COHR) shares were also up, gaining 25 percent to $77.98 after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its first quarter.

Equities Trading DOWN

Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: QSII) shares dropped 21 percent to $12.80. Quality Systems reported upbeat Q3 earnings, but the company's sales missed analysts' expectations. The company named David Metcalfe as chief technology officer.

Shares of Abaxis Inc (NASDAQ: ABAX) were down 18 percent to $41.20. Abaxis reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, but the company missed analysts' sales estimates.

ImmuCell Corporation (NASDAQ: ICCC) was down, falling around 26 percent to $5.70. ImmuCell priced 1.123 million shares at $5.25 per share. The company projects FY15 revenue of around $10.2 million and earnings of $0.34 to $0.41 per share.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.54 percent to $33.73, while gold traded down 0.10 percent to $1,115.00.

Silver traded down 0.01 percent Friday to $14.23, while copper rose 0.27 percent to $2.06.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 climbed 0.74 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index surged 1.44 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index rose 1.51 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX gained 0.41 percent, and the French CAC 40 gained 0.63 percent, while U.K. shares rose 1.05 percent.


US GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, versus economists' expectations for a 0.8 percent growth.

The employment cost index surged 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, versus economists' expectations for a 0.6 percent rise.

The Chicago PMI gained 12.7 points to 55.6 in January. Economists were projecting a reading of 45.00.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index slipped to 92.0 in January, compared to a prior reading of 93.30. However, economists projected a reading of 93.5.


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