|12:10 EDT||MHP, ARO, HOGS, ANAD, YHOO, FB, M, TGT, WMT, APO, DWA||On The Fly: Midday Wrap |
Stocks on Wall Street were lower at midday, giving back some of the 4% advance seen last week by both the S&P and Nasdaq. With earnings season over, a budget agreement in the U.S. or a European deal on Greek aid may be awaited as the next market catalysts, and a lack of progress on either front may bring increased volatility... ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey for November came in at -2.8, versus forecasts for a +2.5 reading. Also, Mary Schapiro stepped down as the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and President Obama appointed current SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to take over the position. In Europe, the Bank of England named Mark Carney, who is currently the head of Canada’s central bank, as its next governor... COMPANY NEWS: McGraw-Hill (MHP) confirmed it reached a deal to sell its education business to Apollo Global Management (APO) for $2.5B. McGraw-Hill, which said it will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial after the sale closes, saw its shares rise about 2% after trading resumed following the deal announcement... A number of major retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Macy's (M), traded lower in spite of estimates from the National Retail Federation that consumer spending over the Thanksgiving weekend increased 13% from a year ago... Two tech names benefited from some positive analyst commentary as Facebook (FB) shares rose nearly 8% after Bernstein upgraded the stock to Outperform and BTIG raised its rating on the name to Neutral. Also, Yahoo! (YHOO) was upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman and shares responded by advancing about 1%... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were Anadigics (ANAD), up 17% following an upgrade to Buy at Needham, and Zhongpin (HOGS), up 15% after after agreeing to "go private" for a $13.50 per share. Among the noteworthy losers was Aeropostale (ARO), which slid almost 7% following a downgrade to Neutral at Janney Capital. Also lower were shares of DreamWorks (DWA), down over 5% after the stock was downgraded at Caris and Goldman said its estimates could be at risk due to the box office under-performance of "Rise of the Guardians"... INDICES: Near noon, the Dow was down 87.77, or 0.67%, to 12,921.91; the Nasdaq was down 5.80, or 0.20%, to 2,961.05; and the S&P 500 was down 8.29, or 0.59%, to 1,400.86.