|12:19 EDT||TRLA, LOGM, WTW, CHGG, CRAY, MW, IM, AIG, JOSB||On The Fly: Midday Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were mixed at midday with the Dow and S&P 500 outperforming the Nasdaq. The major averages began the session with little fanfare and remained close to the flat line in early trading. The slightly better than expected University of Michigan consumer confidence reading provided a bit of a catalyst for buyers, who have managed to push all but the Nasdaq back into positive ground. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., import prices edged up 0.1% and export prices rose 0.2% in January. Industrial production fell 0.3% in January, versus expectations for it to have grown 0.3%. The preliminary February University of Michigan consumer confidence reading was unchanged from the final January figure at 81.2. In Europe, the eurozone's economy expanded at a 0.3% pace last quarter, versus analysts' consensus for expansion of 0.2%. COMPANY NEWS: Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) announced a deal to buy Everest Holdings, the parent company of the Eddie Bauer brand, for cash and stock worth about $825M. Jos. A. Bank, which has been both the pursuer and the pursued in a long running, public negotiation with peer Men's Wearhouse (MW), said the deal give it the right to terminate its agreement in the event an unsolicited offer is made to acquire Jos. A. Bank that it determines would "reasonably be expected to create greater value" for shareholders. Jos. A. Bank also said it will buy back 4.6M of its common shares, or 16.4% of its outstanding shares, if the Eddie Bauer deal moves forward. Afterward, Men's Wearhouse said will "evaluate its options" with regard to Jos. A. Bank... After last night's closing bell, AIG reported fourth quarter profits that beat expectations, raised its dividend by 25% and increased its stock buyback plan by $1 billion. Additionally, Bloomberg reported that the insurer will cut its workforce by 3%. Shares of AIG rose in after-hours trading, but are down 2% near midday after Deutsche Bank called the quarter "messy" and a "modest disappointment" and Barclays lowered its price target on the stock to $56 from $60 to reflect slower than expected P&C margin improvement. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers following their better than expected quarterly reports were supercomputer maker Cray (CRAY), which surged 32%, cloud-based solutions company LogMeIn (LOGM), which jumped 23%, and computer parts distributor Ingram Micro (IM), which rose 13%. Among the noteworthy losers was Weight Watchers (WTW), which fell 26% after its fourth quarter profit missed expectations and the company sharply cut its fiscal 2014 earnings outlook. Also lower following their own earnings reports were learning platform operator Chegg (CHGG), which fell 17%, and home buying website Trulia (TRLA), which dropped 18%. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 73.93, or 0.46%, to 16,101.52, the Nasdaq was down 7.04, or 0.17%, to 4,233.63, and the S&P 500 was up 4.41, or 0.24%, to 1,834.24.