Market Overview

Mid-Day Market Update: Micron Climbs On Earnings Beat; OvaScience Shares Slide

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Midway through trading Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.17 percent to 19,908.23 while the NASDAQ declined 0.38 percent to 5,450.45. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.26 percent to 2,259.35.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Energy shares gained around 0.21 percent in trading on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included CVR Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CVI), and Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN).

In trading on Thursday, basic materials shares slipped by 0.78 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR), down 3 percent, and Mechel PAO (ADR) (NYSE: MTL), down 3 percent.

Top Headline

Conagra Brands Inc (NYSE: CAG) reported better-than-expected earnings for its second quarter, but sales missed estimates.

Net income declined to $122.1 million, or $0.28 per share, compared to $154.9 million, or $0.35 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, Conagra earned $0.49 per share from continuing operations.

Its net sales slipped to $2.09 billion from $2.36 billion. Analysts projected earnings of $0.45 per share on revenue of $2.11 billion.


Equities Trading UP

Tokai Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: TKAI) shares shot up 51 percent to $1.52. Tokai Pharmaceuticals and Otic Pharma disclosed that they have entered into a share purchase agreement.

Shares of Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) got a boost, shooting up 15 percent to $12.07 following news that celebrity shareholder and board member Oprah Winfrey has lost more than 40 pounds on the Weight Watchers plan. Winfrey promotes the plan in a brand new commercial for Weight Watchers in which she confirms her recent success on the program.

Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) shares were also up, gaining 14 percent to $23.37 after the company reported better-than-expected profit for its first quarter and issued a strong forecast for the current quarter.


Equities Trading DOWN

OvaScience Inc (NASDAQ: OVAS) shares dropped 50 percent to $1.49 after the company announced plans to reduce workforce by 30 percent and disclosed that its CEO Harald Stock is stepping down.

Shares of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: AUPH) were down 22 percent to $2.13 after the company reported a US$25.0 million bought deal financing.

Red Hat Inc (NYSE: RHT) was down, falling around 12 percent to $70.40. Red Hat reported upbeat earnings for its third quarter, but sales missed expectations. The company also announced that its CFO Frank Calderoni is stepping down


Commodities


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.09 percent to $53.06 while gold traded up 0.07 percent to $1,134.00.

Silver traded down 0.06 percent Thursday to $15.97, while copper rose 0.04 percent to $2.50.

Eurozone

European shares were mostly lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 slipped 0.30 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.50 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped 0.52 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX fell 0.18 percent, and the French CAC 40 declined 0.11 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.15 percent.

Economics

Durable goods orders fell 4.6 percent for November, versus economists’ expectations for a 4.7 percent drop.

The U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent for the third quarter, versus economists’ expectations for a 3.3 percent growth.

U.S. jobless claims increased 21,000 to 275,000 in the latest week. Economists were expecting claims to reach 256,000 in the week.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index declined to negative 0.27 in November, versus a revised reading of negative 0.05 in October.

The FHFA House Price Index gained 0.4 percent for October.

Personal income came in unchanged for November, while consumer spending increased 0.2 percent. However, economists were expecting a 0.3 percent growth for both.

The index of leading economic indicators was flat for November.

Natural gas storage dropped 209 billion cubic feet for the week ended December 16, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts were expecting a decline of 201 billion cubic feet.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index rose to a reading of 24 for December, versus a reading of 9 for November.

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

 

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