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Midday Market Update

Stocks Middling on Data, Corporate News

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U.S. Market
Stocks were showing weakness at midday as investors digested mixed data along with a handful of corporate announcements, including earnings

The preliminary reading for fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed the economy declined at a 0.1% annual rate. Economists were forecasting a 1% increase. It marks the first time in more than three years that GDP contracted, and is well lower than the third-quarter's reading of 3.1%. A drop in federal spending and the effects of Hurricane Sandy likely had an impact on GDP. 

 Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported that private-sector jobs rose by 192,000 in January, ahead of expectations, mostly driven by small and midsize companies. ADP's December tally was revised downward, however, by 30,000 jobs to a gain of 185,000. The market will be paying heavy attention to Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics payrolls report. 

At midday, the S&P 500 had lost 0.1%, while the Nasdaq had gained 0.1%. The Dow was flat. 

Stocks on the Move
 Boeing (BA) posted a 30% drop in fourth-quarter earnings, though the comparable year included a favorable tax settlement. The aerospace giant had double-digit revenue growth and an increased delivery forecast, but much focus is on the recent mishaps with its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Shares were up by 1.2% at midday. 

 Chesapeake Energy (CHK) shares were up by nearly 6% at midday after the firm announced late Tuesday that CEO and former chairman Aubrey McClendon is retiring as of April 1, following heavy pressure from the firm's board and investors. 

 Research in Motion (RIMM) shares were down by 7% at midday following the unveiling of two of the firm's BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The firm also announced it will be changing its official name to BlackBerry and trade under the ticker BBRY effective Feb. 4. 

 Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) shares were down by 2.1% after stating it will acquire Copano Energy (CPNO) in a $3.72 billion deal to augment its midstream services. Copano shares jumped by nearly 15%. 

 Marathon Petroleum (MPC) posted a fourth-quarter profit of $755 million compared with a $75 million loss the same time last year, and it will add $2 billion to its stock buyback plan. Shares were 0.7% lower, however. 

Foreign Markets
Asian stocks had a good Wednesday, as the Shanghai Composite gained 1.0%, while the Nikkei 225 rose by 2.3%. The Hang Seng was 0.7% higher. 

European stocks were down, however. The FTSE 100 lost 0.3%, while the Paris CAC and the DAX each fell by 0.5%. 

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