Mid-Day Update: Stocks Grind Higher as Tech Tech Buoys Wall Street

The major indices were moving higher at midday after a lackluster start as Wall Street’s appetite for risk improved on solid gains in the tech sector ahead of Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) earnings this week.

Stock futures were flat ahead of the open with investors sidelined by the earnings calendar this week that includes heavy-hitters Alphabet, Twitter ( TWTR ), Disney ( DIS ), and General Motors ( GM ), as well as President Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday, and a speech from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday night.

Unexpectedly weak economic data unleashed a brief backslide in the major indices when factory orders were reported to have fallen 0.6% in November, well below expectations for a 0.3% gain and following a 2.1% slide in October. Excluding transportation orders, factory orders fell 1.3%.

The move lower was extinguished, however, by technical support for Dow futures at the 200-day moving average. Investors cautiously returned with demand strongest for Apple ( AAPL ), Boeing ( BA ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ).

A stronger dollar Monday was translating into weakness for gold and oil with the latter down as much as 2%, although trading above its session lows. The disintegrating flight to safety drove Treasury yields higher across most of the curve with the 10-year note 3 basis points cheaper at a 2.727% yield.

Led by the banking sector, Europe’s major indices were mostly lower despite a more favorable exchange rate for the euro and pound, and modest gains in the US. Investors were bracing for this week’s deluge of service sector PMIs, EU economic forecasts and German factory data.

Crude oil was down $1.09 to $54.17 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.06 to $2.67 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $3.90 to $1,318.30 an ounce, while silver was down $0.06 to $15.87 an ounce. Copper was up $0.02 to $2.78 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 2.06% to $11.39 with the United States Natural Gas Fund down 2.39% to $23.84. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.22% to 22.48 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.25% to $124.18. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.18% to $14.89.

Here’s where the markets stood at midday:


NYSE Composite Index was up 1.59 points (+0.01%) to 12,331.28

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 32.45 points (+0.13%) to 25,096.34

S&P 500 was up 7.43 points (+0.27%) to 2,713.96

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 66.08 points (+0.91%) to 7,329.94


FTSE 100 was up 13.91 points (+0.20%) to 7,034.13

DAX was down 4.08 points (-0.04%) to 11,176.58

CAC 40 was down 19.07 points (-0.38%) to 5,000.19

Nikkei 225 was up 95.38 points (+0.46%) to 20,883.77

Hang Seng Index was up 59.47 points (+0.21%) to 27,990.21

Shanghai China Composite Index was closed


NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 21.00 points (-0.20%) to 10,473.00

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 11.47 points (+0.15%) to 7,640.70

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 91.54 points (-0.58%) to 15,612.92


(+) TISA (+60.82%) Agreed to be acquired by Kofax

(+) MXWL (+49.51%) To be acquired by Tesla (TSLA) for $4.75 per share

(+) BLRX (-23.20%) Received orphan drug designation for BL-8040 for the treatment of pancreatic cancer

(+) ZKIN (+16.67%) Reported positive full year results including 22% increase in revenue

(+) EOLS (+15.11%) Gets FDA OK for Jeuveau injection for frown lines


(-) CHEK (-27.91%) To raise $7.5 million in registered direct offering

(-) MDLY (-23.27%) Nexpoint Advisors proposed a merger between Medley and Sierra Income Corp

(-) TRTN (-8.25%) Downgraded to underperform from buy at Bank of America