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Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Down; Dollar General Profit Misses Estimates

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Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.01% to 33,015.14 while the NASDAQ fell 1.51% to 13,321.06. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.58% to 3,951.23.

The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, reporting a total of 29,608,020 cases with around 538,090 deaths. Brazil reported over 11,693,830 COVID-19 cases with 284,770 deaths, while India confirmed a total of at least 11,474,600 cases and 159,210 deaths. In total, there were at least 121,295,600 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with more than 2,682,400 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Financial shares rose 1.1% on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Upstart Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: UPST), up 56%, and Jiayin Group Inc (NASDAQ: JFIN), up 36%.

In trading on Thursday, information technology shares fell 1.6%.

Top Headline

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG) reported weaker-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter and also issued downbeat earnings forecast for the year.

Dollar General reported quarterly earnings of $2.62 per share, missing analysts’ estimates of $2.72 per share. The company’s quarterly sales came in at $8.41 billion, versus expectations of $8.30 billion.

Dollar General said it expects FY21 EPS of $8.80-$9.50, versus analysts’ estimates of $10.73.

 

Equities Trading UP

Upstart Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: UPST) shares shot up 56% to $94.41 after the company reported better-than-expected Q4 results and issued strong sales guidance. The company also announced plans to acquire Prodigy Software.

Shares of Takung Art Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: TKAT) got a boost, shooting 47% to $33.13 after jumping 277% on Wednesday. The Hong Kong-based online art trading platform's rise prompted by increased attention from social media amid frenzy surrounding non-fungible tokens. NFTs are akin to a digital certificate of ownership.

Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOL) shares were also up, gaining 37% to $4.3899 after the company swung to a profit in the fourth quarter.

Check out these big movers of the day

Equities Trading DOWN

Translate Bio, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBIO) shares tumbled 32% to $17.39 after the company announced a second interim analysis from the Phase 1/2 study of MRT5005 in patients with cystic fibrosis, showing that repeat dosing was generally safe and well tolerated, with no serious adverse events. The company, however, said there was no pattern of increases in the percent of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, a measure of lung function. Truist Securities and Evercore ISI Group downgraded the stock.

Shares of Liquid Media Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: YVR) were down 15% to $3.3501. Shares closed up 63% on Wednesday as traders on social media circulated the name as a play on the non-fungible token (NFT) market. However, when the Benzinga newsdesk reached out to the company for comment, a spokesperson said Liquid "has not made any announcements about entering the NFT market."

ContraFect Corporation (NASDAQ: CFRX) was down, falling 14% to $5.35 after the company reported a common stock offering.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.2% to $64.50, while gold traded up 0.3% to $1,733.00.

Silver traded up 0.7% Thursday to $26.245 while copper rose 0.3% to $4.13.

Euro zone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.4%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.1% and the German DAX 30 gained 1.1%. Meanwhile, the French CAC 40 rose 0.2%, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1% and Italy’s FTSE MIB rose 0.4%.

Eurozone's trade surplus increased to EUR 6.3 billion in January from EUR 1.6 billion in the year-ago month. Imports fell 14.1% year-over-year, while exports declined 11.4%. Hourly labor costs rose 3.0% year-over-year during the fourth quarter.

Italy's trade surplus widened to EUR 1.6 billion in January from EUR 0.5 billion in the year-ago month.

 

Economics

US initial jobless claims increased to 770,000 in the week ended March 13, higher than market estimates of 700,000.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rose to 51.8 in March from 23.1 in February.

The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.2% for February.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is scheduled for release at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The Treasury is set to auction 4-and 8-week bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Check out the full economic calendar here

 

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