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Midday Market Update

Stocks Mostly Lower; Data, Earnings Eyed

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U.S. Market    
Stocks were mostly down at midday with data and earnings making headlines. 

Following last week's mixed jobs data, the Conference Board's employment trends index increased in July to 112.16 from June's revised reading of 111.67. The majority of the subindexes showed improvement for the month. The index is 4.1% higher compared with the same time last year, bringing it to its best reading in more than five years. 

Meanwhile, the nonmanufacturing purchasing managers' index exceeded expectations, rising to 56.0 last month, ahead of the consensus estimate of 53.3. The index was also up from June's reading of 52.2. Most of the subindexes, though mixed, showed expanding activity in the services sector, with readings higher than 50. Treasury prices fell following the report. 

The Dow was 0.3% lower at midday. The S&P 500 had lost 0.1%, and the Nasdaq was flat. 

Stocks on the Move
After the closing bell Friday, wide-moat-rated  Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) released results for the second quarter of 2013 that were pretty much in line with Morningstar analyst expectations. Second-quarter revenue increased 16% year over year to $44.7 billion on improved operating results from each of Berkshire's main segments. Excluding the impact of gains on investments and derivatives, revenue increased 12% year over year. With expenses rising at a slower rate than revenue, and most of the gains from investments and derivatives falling straight down to the bottom line, Berkshire reported a 49%  increase in pretax earnings (to $6.9 billion) and a 46% increase in net earnings (to $4.5 billion). Stripping out the impact of investments and derivatives, operating earnings increased 5% to $3.9 billion. Berkshire A shares were 0.5% higher at midday, while B shares were up by 0.4%. 

 Tyson Foods (TSN) posted a sharp increase in year-over-year profit, with third-quarter earnings per share coming in at $0.69 compared with $0.22 reported the same time last year. Revenue rose by 5.7%. Both EPS and revenue beat Wall Street forecasts, and the meat producer maintained its full-year revenue estimate. Shares had jumped by 4.3% at midday. 

 Walgreen (WAG) had better-than-expected comparable-store sales last month, with such revenues rising by 6.3% compared with Street estimates of a 5.3% monthly gain. The firm's pharmacy sales rose by 8.8%, but overall customer traffic fell in July. Shares were down by 0.2% at midday. 

Foreign Markets
Asian stocks were mixed as the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng rose by 1.0% and 0.1%, while the Nikkei 225 lost 1.4%. 

Stocks in Europe were mixed, as well. The FTSE 100 had lost 0.4%, while the DAX had fallen by 0.1%. The Paris CAC rose by 0.1%. 

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