|16:27 EDT||JOY, CAT, TEX, VZ, BGS, GIS, PSEM, DIOD, MEI, WRLD, CTLT, FIVE||On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday|
Stocks on Wall Street began the session in positive territory thanks in part to dovish comments from the ECB. The averages were helped as well by the fact that the Chinese stock market, the source of so much volatility recently, was closed. The lack of distraction allowed buyers to be empowered and to extend the market's gains from yesterday. By noon, the averages had pared their gains, with the Nasdaq eventually crossing into negative territory. The average drifted near the flatline from there, as investors positioned ahead of tomorrow's jobs report. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose to 282,000 in the week ended August 29, versus expectations for 275,000 first-time claims. The trade balance report showed a deficit of $41.86B for July, versus expectations for a deficit of $42.2B. Markit's services PMI rose to 56.1 for the final August print, versus July's 55.7 and the 55.2 preliminary August reading. ISM's non-manufacturing index dipped to 59.0 in August, but that topped expectations for a reading of 58.2. In Europe, the European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as expected, and economists at the bank trimmed their eurozone growth projections for this year and through 2017. ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank needs to determine if the recent global volatility is transitory before it decides "whether to do more or not," but also emphasized the bank's "willingness to act, its readiness to act and its ability to act." In Asia, Chinese markets were closed today and will be closed tomorrow for a holiday. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Joy Global (JOY) plummeted $3.24, or 14.64%, to $18.89 following the company's report of lower than expected quarterly earnings and revenue. Joy's warnings about "one of the most challenging [end market environments] seen in decades" come as mining equipment makers like Caterpillar (CAT), Terex (TEX), and Joy grapple with low commodity prices leading to significantly reduced capital expenditures at mining firms. Shares of Dow member Caterpillar were the worst performer on the blue chip index, slipping 2.17% to $74.45 after Joy said ongoing challenges in commodity markets, along with slowing global economic growth, have "weighed on [its] customers' financial position and [its] incoming order rates." MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was B&G Foods (BGS), which advanced $3.55, or 11.66%, to $34.00 after agreeing to purchase the Green Giant and Le Sueur vegetables brands from General Mills (GIS) for roughly $765M. Also higher was Pericom Semiconductor (PSEM), which gained $4.58, or 37.6%, to $16.76 after Diodes (DIOD) agreed to acquire the company for $17 per share. Shares of Diodes were also driven higher after the news, rising 11.8% to $21.89. Additionally, Methode Electronics (MEI) surged $5.43, or 19.82%, to $32.82 after releasing first quarter results and announcing a $100M share repurchase program. Among the noteworthy losers was World Acceptance (WRLD), which declined $2.21, or 5.95%, to $34.92 after Kase Capital's Whitney Tilson reiterated his belief that the stock is going to zero, as reported by ValueWalk. Also lower were Catalent (CTLT) and Five Below (FIVE), which dropped a respective 9.6% and 9.3% following their earnings reports. INDEXES: The Dow added 23.38, or 0.14%, to 16,374.76, the Nasdaq slid 16.48, or 0.35%, to 4,733.50, and the S&P 500 advanced 2.27, or 0.12%, to 1,951.13.