Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; AutoZone Profit Tops Estimates



Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.78 percent to 18,436.53 while the NASDAQ climbed 0.66 percent to 5,329.88. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.69 percent to 2,178.08.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Thursday morning, basic materials shares gained 1.20 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included ArcelorMittal SA (ADR) (NYSE: MT), and Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE: FCX).

In trading on Thursday, healthcare shares rose by just 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ: PACB), down 3 percent, and Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS), down 3 percent.

Top Headline

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE: AZO) reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter, but sales missed estimates. The company also announced an additional share buyback program of $750 million.

The company reported net income of $426.77 million, or $14.30 a share for the fourth quarter, up from $401.14 million, or $12.75 a share, recorded in the year-ago quarter. This is $0.05 a share higher than the Street analysts' estimates of $14.25 a share.

AutoZone generated net sales of $3.4 billion compared to $3.29 billion in the previous year quarter representing a growth of 3.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. However, this fell short of the analysts' predictions of $3.43 billion. Its domestic same store sales advanced 1.0 percent.

Equities Trading UP

Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (NASDAQ: HTCH) shares shot up 166 percent to $3.97 as the company disclosed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has allowed early termination of TDK merger waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Shares of WCI Communities Inc (NYSE: WCIC) got a boost, shooting up 41 percent to $24.24 after Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN) announced plans to buy the company for $23.50 per share in cash and stock.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: AVXL) shares were also up, gaining 22 percent to $3.17 as the company disclosed that ANAVEX 2-73 shows efficacy to support potential disease modification in Parkinson's disease.

Equities Trading DOWN

Leading Brands, Inc (USA) (NASDAQ: LBIX) shares dropped 17 percent to $1.89 following Q2 results. Leading Brands posted Q2 EBITDAS of $0.00 per share, compared to $0.09 per share during the same period last year.

Shares of OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN) were down 12 percent to $8.81 after the company reported weaker-than-expected Q3 earnings.

Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ: MLHR) was down, falling around 10 percent to $28.80 after the company reported downbeat results for its first quarter and issued a weak forecast for the current quarter.


In commodity news, oil traded up 2.45 percent to $46.45 while gold traded up 0.83 percent to $1,342.50.

Silver traded up 1.68 percent Thursday to $20.10, while copper rose 1.65 percent to $2.19.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 1.83 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 2.32 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index climbed 2.23 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 2.52 percent, and the French CAC 40 climbed 2.63 percent while U.K. shares rose 1.38 percent.


Initial jobless claims declined 8,000 to 252,000 in the latest week. Economists projected claims to reach 260,000 claims for the week.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index dropped to -0.55 in August, versus a prior reading of 0.27. However, economists were expecting a reading of 0.13.

Existing-home sales slipped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 5.33 million in August. Economists were expecting a 5.48 million pace.

The index of leading economic indicators dropped 0.20 percent for August, versus economists’ expectations for a 0.10 percent growth.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas stocks will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index for September is schedule for release at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Data on money supply for the recent week will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.


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