|16:41 EDT||ESI, ZNGA, AFFY, BKS, ELN||On The Fly: Closing Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were lower as concerns over the outcome of Italy's election put the averages under pressure through the trading day. After opening higher, the averages moved lower throughout the session, closing at the day's worst levels... ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed national activity index dropped to -0.32 in January, indicating that economic activity in the month was below average trends. Also, the Dallas Fed's manufacturing index dropped back to 2.2 in February from 5.5 in the prior month. In Europe, Italy's markets were volatile as polls indicated that formerly ousted prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is faring better than expected in the nation's general election. In China, HSBC's flash PMI manufacturing index fell to 50.4 in February from 52.3 in January... COMPANY NEWS: Barnes & Noble (BKS) gained $1.55, or 11.47%, to $15.06 after the company’s founder, largest stockholder and Chairman of the Board Leonard Riggio said he plans to propose to purchase all of the company's retail assets, excluding its NOOK e-reader business. The company publicly acknowledged the plan for an offer and said it will set up a committee to evaluate its best course of action... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Zynga (ZNGA), up another 25c, or 7.84%, to $3.44, following Nevada's passage late last week of a bill legalizing online gambling in the state. Also higher were shares of Elan (ELN), up 54c, or 5.09%, to $11.14 after getting an $11 per share takeover offer from Royalty Pharma. Among the noteworthy losers was Affymax (AFFY), down $14.08, or 85.23%, to $2.44 after the company initiated a safety recall for its anemia drug Omontys and the stock was downgraded by at least four analyst firms. Also lower were shares of ITT Educational (ESI), down $3.10, or 16.64%, to $15.53 after the company disclosed in a regulatory filing late Friday that it is being investigated by the SEC. INDICES: The Dow was down 216.40, or 1.55%, to 13,784.17; the Nasdaq was down 45.57, or 1.44%, to 3,116.25; and the S&P 500 was down 27.75, or 1.83%, to 1,487.85.