Market Alert: Today’s News:
Stocks on Wall Street were mixed at midday after a report showed that retail sales barely rose in April. The Nasdaq, which has been the market leader all year, was in negative territory near noon, while the Dow and S&P 500 were both slightly positive.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the NFIB small business optimism index rose to 95.2 in April, beating the consensus forecast for a 94.5 reading. Retail sales edged up 0.1% in April from the prior month, missing expectations for a 0.4% monthly increase. A measure of import prices fell 0.4% in April, compared to a forecast for a 0.3% increase. Export prices, which were also expected to fractionally increase, declined 1.0%. In China, retail sales increased 11.9% in April compared to the same month of last year, which was a bit below expectations. Industrial production growth in the month also slightly trailed the consensus forecast, rising 8.7%. In Europe, the Zew economic sentiment index for the euro area unexpectedly slipped to 55.2 in May from 61.2 in April. Also, a Wall Street Journal report indicated that the Bundesbank is ready to support a package of ECB easing measures in June to include a negative deposit rate and purchases of asset-backed securities.
COMPANY NEWS: Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) shares rose nearly 10% after Coca-Cola (KO) disclosed a deal to purchase additional shares, which increase Coke’s stake in the K-cup coffee machine maker up to 16%. In February, Coca-Cola agreed to buy a 10% stake in Green Mountain for $1.25B, with an option to increase its stake in the future.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO), which gained over 15% after reporting first quarter results and announcing that a committee supervising one of its previously halted clinical studies now supports continued enrollment of patients. Among the noteworthy losers was perfume and cosmetic maker Elizabeth Arden (RDEN), which plunged 20% after unexpectedly reporting a third quarter loss amid weaker than expected sales. Elizabeth Arden also confirmed that it has engaged Goldman Sachs (GS) to assist its board in looking into potential strategic alternatives, as had been reported by Reuters last month. Also lower were shares of appliance maker Whirlpool (WHR), which fell 3% after research firm Longbow downgraded the stock following its April retailer survey indicated a growth slowdown in both wholesale and sell-through volumes against the backdrop of a slowing U.S. housing sector.