Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Lower; Facebook To Buy WhatsApp For $16B

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Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.15 percent to 16,017.12 while the NASDAQ dropped 0.15 percent to 4,231.66. The S&P also fell, declining 0.17 percent to 1,825.60.

Leading and Lagging Sectors
Utilities sector surged 0.23%, saw CPFL Energia SA (NYSE: CPL) as the top gainer. Among leading sector stocks, gains came from Consolidated Water Co (NASDAQ: CWCO), Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: ELP) and Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG).

In trading on Thursday, technology shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.09%. Top decliners in the sector included KVH Industries (NASDAQ: KVHI), off 6%, and Yandex NV (NASDAQ: YNDX), down 5.9%.

Top Headline
After the closing bell Wednesday, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) announced its plans to buy popular messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion in cash and stock. Facebook will pay $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash, plus $3 billion in restricted stock units, to buy WhatsApp.

Equities Trading UP
Raptor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RPTP) shot up 16.21 percent to $17.34 after the company announced positive clinical results with RP103 in Huntington's disease Phase 2/3 trial.

Shares of Portfolio Recovery Associates (NASDAQ: PRAA) got a boost, shooting up 12.79 percent to $56.94 after the company reported Q4 results and agreed to acquire Aktiv Kapital for $880 million.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) was also up, gaining 10.25 percent to $213.49 after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Conns (NASDAQ: CONN) were down 35.50 percent to $35.99 after the company issued a weak Q4 profit forecast. Oppenheimer downgraded the stock from Outperform to Market Perform and cut the price target from $92.00 to $44.00.

Millennial Media (NYSE: MM) shares tumbled 11.74 percent to $6.3550 after the company reported downbeat Q4 revenue and issued a weak Q1 revenue guidance. The company also appointed Ross Levinsohn and Tom Evans to its Board of Directors.

BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ: BJRI) was down, falling 5.48 percent to $27.40 on Q4 results.

Commodities
In commodity news, oil traded down 0.13 percent to $103.18, while gold traded down 0.32 percent to $1,316.20.

Silver traded down 0.82 percent Thursday to $21.67, while copper fell 0.43 percent to $3.26.

Eurozone
European shares were lower today.

The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.80 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index declined 0.92 percent.

Meanwhile, the German DAX tumbled 1.23 percent and the French CAC 40 slipped 0.19 percent while U.K. shares declined 0.36 percent.

Economics
US jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 336,000 in the week ended February 15. However, economists were estimating claims to decline to 335,000 in the week.

US consumer prices climbed 0.1% in January, while the core CPI increased 0.1%. However, economists were projecting the overall CPI to gain 0.1% and core index to gain 0.1%.

The Markit PMI manufacturing index (flash) for February rose to 56.70, versus a prior reading of 53.70. However, economists were expecting a reading of 53.60.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -30.60 in the latest week, versus a prior reading of-30.70.

US Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell to -6.30 in February, versus a prior reading of 9.40. However, economists were expecting a reading of 8.00.

The Conference Board's index of leading indicators increased 0.3% in January.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills. The Treasury will also auction 2-year, 5-year and 7-year notes.

Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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