Stocks traded lower on the day, but finished well off their lows. Disputes over austerity and Greece's debt restructuring plan were largely cited for the market's down day. Technicians, however, are looking for the very bullish technical indictor of the S&P's 50-day moving average crossing above its 200-day moving average. The technical indicator known as the golden cross has shown up 16 times since 1962, with the market staging gains over the next six months 75% of the time, according to research and money management firm Birinyi Associates.
The Pain Management Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACRX - News) with a 8% gain. The Communication Services Stocks Index was the day's worst performing tickerspy Index, with B Communications (Nasdaq: BCOM - News) down -7%.
Stocks finished slightly lower, with the Dow off -7 points to 12,654. The S&P slipped -3 points to 1,313, while the Nasdaq dipped -5 points to close at 2,812. Oil fell -78 cents to $98.78 a barrel, while gold slid -$1.20 to $1,731.00.
In economic news, the Commerce Department said personal incomes rose 0.5% last month after climbing 0.1% in November. Economists expected a 0.4% increase in December.
In earnings news, boot and shoe maker Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW - News) said its fourth-quarter profit fell to $23 million, or 47 cents per share, from $25.6 million, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 6% to $406.5 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 46 cents on sales of $409.6 million. The company forecast an adjusted 2012 profit of $2.75-$2.85 on revenue of $1.49-$1.53 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of $2.72 per share on revenue of $1.52 billion. Shares of Wolverine Worldwide rose 1.3%.
Blood-processing systems maker Haemonetics (NYSE: HAE - News) posted a fiscal third-quarter profit of $18.3 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with $19.7 million, or 77 cents a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, Haemonetics earned 86 cents a share on revenue of $191.2 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 80 cents on revenue of $186.2 million. The company also reaffirmed full-year guidance of $3.00-$3.10 a share on revenue growth of 6-7%. Shares of Haemonetics fell -1.9%.
Shares of Thomas & Betts (NYSE: TNB - News) surged 23.1% after the company received a $3.9 billion takeover offer from Swiss engineering company ABB (NYSE: ABB - News). ABB will pay $72 a share for Thomas & Betts, a 24% premium to where the shares closed on Friday. Three pros counted Thomas & Betts among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and more than 50 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of fast food chain operator Wendy's (Nasdaq: WEN - News) fell -3.8% after the company said its fourth-quarter income from continuing operations fell to $4.3 million from $6.1 million a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, Wendy's earned 4 cents a share as revenue rose to $615.0 million from $582.6 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 4 cents on revenue of $613 million. Same-store sales rose 4.4%. Five pros counted Wendy's among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and nearly 250 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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