Stocks on Wall Street were lower at midday despite the biggest gain in exports in nine months helping to narrow the U.S. trade deficit in March. The averages opened moderately lower, giving up all of yesterday’s gains and then some, and have been unable to make it back to positive ground throughout the morning.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit narrowed, as expected, to $40.4B in March.
COMPANY NEWS: Twitter (TWTR) fell 11% near noon after over 450M of its shares, which represent around 80% of the total shares outstanding, were permitted to be sold without the restrictions that were put in place by the company’s initial public offering. Previous regulatory filings have shown that top executives, including the company’s CEO, Dick Costolo, have promised not to sell any of their stake in the wake of the lock-up expiration day, as it is known on Wall Street… In the latest in a recent series of major deals reshaping the pharmaceutical industry, Germany’s Bayer (BAYRY) agreed to buy Merck’s (MRK) consumer care business, which includes well-known over-the-counter drugs Claritin and Afrin, for $14.2B. Also, the two companies struck a clinical development collaboration to market and develop soluble guanylate cyclase modulators, which are being explored as potential therapies for heart failure and hypertension. Merck’s stock fell over 2% following the announcement, while Bayer shares trading in New York were fractionally lower. Â´
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Forest Oil (FST), which jumped 14.5% after the company and Sabine Oil & Gas agreed to merge their businesses in an all-stock transaction. Shares ChannelAdvisor (ECOM), fell 12% and saw Baird lower its price target on its stock to $40 from $50 following its Q1 earnings report.