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Midday Market Update

Stocks Little Changed; Data, ECB Eyed

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U.S. Market
Stocks were little changed at midday after giving back early gains.

Initial unemployment claims increased by 4,000 last week to 371,000. Economists had expected claims to come in at 363,000 for the week. The less volatile four-week moving average rose 6,750 to 365,750.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.6% in November from October levels, while wholesale sales were up 2.3%. Higher inventories were driven by gains in cars, furniture and petroleum.  Durable goods were responsible for much of the sales increase.

As expected, the European Central Bank left its key lending rate unchanged at 0.75%. ECB head Mario Draghi said that he expects the weakness in the eruozone to continue in 2013 but that the block should see a “gradual recovery” by the end of the year.

At midday the Nasdaq was flat, while the Dow and S&P 500 were up 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

Stocks on the Move
Shares of  Supervalu (SVU) jumped over 8% after the firm announced it is selling five of its grocery store brands to a Cerberus Capital led investor group for $100 million in cash and the assumption of $3.2 billion in debt. Cerberus will also take up to a 30% stake in the remaining part of Supervalu fort $4 a share.  The firm also announced that they swung to a profit of 8 cents a share last quarter, from a loss of $3.54 a share in the year-ago quarter.

Luxury jewelry retailer  Tiffany (TIF) said today that its same-store sales for the holiday period were flat, and that global net sales were up a total of 4%. The firm now expects its earnings to be at the low end of its $3.20 to $3.40 range, below analyst expectations. Shares fell 3.6% on the news.

Foreign Markets
European shares moves lower in late trading today. The FTSE 100 was flat, the Paris CAC was down 0.5% while Germany’s DAX was off 0.2%.

Asian markets were higher on the day. The Nikkei 225Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite were up 0.7%, 0.6% and 0.4% respectively.

Jeremy Glaser does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.