Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Lower; Acuity Brands Misses Q2 Estimates


Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded down 0.06 percent to 20,638.44 while the NASDAQ fell 0.02 percent to 5,893.67. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.15 percent to 2,355.27.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Tuesday morning, the basic materials sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Endeavour Silver Corp (NYSE: EXK) and DRDGOLD Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: DRD).

In trading on Tuesday, cyclical consumer goods & services shares fell 0.33 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI), down 15 percent, and J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP), down 5 percent.

Top Headline

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) reported weaker-than-expected results for its second quarter on Tuesday.

Acuity Brands reported Q2 earnings of $1.77 per share on revenue of $804.7 million. Analysts expected earnings of $1.83 per share on revenue of $828 million.

Equities Trading UP

Benitec Biopharma Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: BNTC) shares shot up 43 percent to $4.38. Benitec Biopharma disclosed that the key pre-clinical data on oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy has been published in Nature Communications.

Shares of General Communication, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNCMA) got a boost, shooting up 59 percent to $32.68 after Liberty Interactive Corporation (NASDAQ: LVNTA) announced plans to acquire General Communication for $1.12 billion.

New Concept Energy, Inc. (NYSE: GBR) shares were also up, gaining 27 percent to $2.21. New Concept Energy reported Q4 earnings of $0.32 per share.

Equities Trading DOWN

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE: SDRL) shares dropped 39 percent to $1.02. Seadrill and its banking group agreed to extend a series of key dates as part of restructuring efforts.

Shares of NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ: NLNK) were down around 23 percent to $17.80. NewLink Genetics disclosed that the interim Phase 2 data showed 52 percent ORR on 50 patients who received combination of indoximod plus pembrolizumab. Patients with non-ocular melanoma achieved a 59 percent ORR.

Kate Spade & Co (NASDAQ: KATE) was down, falling around 14 percent to $19.51. Kate Spade will spend more time negotiating a sale after receiving an offer from Coach Inc (NYSE: COH), according to Reuters.


In commodity news, oil traded up 0.44 percent to $50.46 while gold traded up 0.61 percent to $1,261.60.

Silver traded up 0.92 percent Tuesday to $18.38, while copper fell 0.02 percent to $2.60.


European shares were mostly lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 declined 0.08 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.39 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 0.57 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX dropped 0.09 percent, and the French CAC 40 declined 0.07 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.44 percent.


The U.S. trade deficit declined around 10 percent to $43.6 billion in February. Analysts were expecting a deficit of $44.8 billion.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index rose 1.1 percent year-over-year for the first five weeks of March.

U.S. factory orders rose 1 percent for February, versus economists’ expectations for a 1 percent growth.

The Treasury will auction 4-week bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo is set to speak in Princeton, N.J. at 4:30 p.m. ET.


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