|13:03 EDT||PSX, STSI, BRK.B, CAR, UNXL, BRK.A, HTZ, IMMU||On The Fly: Midday Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday as the Dow and S&P 500 appear set to cap off a winning year at record highs. If the midday levels hold into the close, the S&P will notch its best year since 1997 and the Dow will record its best performance since 1995. Many stock markets around the world were closed or had a short schedule today for the New Year's Eve holiday. In New York, equity markets have a full day, but bond markets will close early. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities rose 0.2% in October from the prior month and climbed 13.6% from a year ago. The Chicago purchasing managers' index for December came in below forecasts at 59.1, which was down from a prior reading of 63.0. The Consumer Confidence index for December beat expectations with a rise to 78.1. Stock markets in Japan, Korea, Germany and Italy, among several others, were closed for a market holiday, while stock markets in the U.K., Hong Kong, France and Spain held half days. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Hertz (HTZ) advanced 8% near noon after the company last night disclosed that it was adopting a shareholder rights plan, also commonly referred to as a "poison pill." Following the company's announcement, CNBC's Scott Wapner reported that Dan Loeb's hedge fund Third Point has taken a new position in Hertz, but that Loeb's stake in the company is under 5% and he does not intend to take an activist role, according to sources. CNBC's David Faber added that another "well known" investor has also amassed a stake in the car rental company and plans to take an activist role. Shares of the primary car rental peer of Hertz, Avis Budget (CAR), were also up over 1% near midday. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Immunomedics (IMMU), which rose 7% after being issued a U.S. patent for the company's antibody-drug conjugates. Also higher was Phillips 66 (PSX), which gained about 3% after agreeing to trade its flow improver business to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) in exchange for shares of Phillips 66 common stock currently held by Berkshire. Among the noteworthy losers was Uni-Pixel (UNXL), which dropped 13% after the company's CEO, Reed Killion, resigned to pursue other interests. Also lower were shares of Star Scientific (STSI), which fell 7% after receiving a warning letter from the FDA regarding two consumer products, Anatabloc and CigRx, which are marketed by the company. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 56.71, or 0.34%, to 16,561.00, the Nasdaq was up 19.19, or 0.46%, to 4,173.39, and the S&P 500 was up 6.27, or 0.34%, to 1,847.34.