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Indices Remain Mixed; Merck Beats Expectations

Garrett Cook

A few minutes into the final trading hour Tuesday, the Dow traded down 0.17 percent to 16,954.16 while the NASDAQ gained 0.16 percent to 4,452.17. The S&P fell 0.29 percent to 1,974.78.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

In trading on Tuesday, telecommunications services shares were relative leaders, up on the day by about 0.88 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR), up 14.81 percent, and Consolidated Communications Holdings (NASDAQ: CNSL), up 7.6 percent.

Utilities shares dropped by 0.53 percent in today’s trading. Top decliners in the sector included Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (NYSE: CIG), down 3.0 percent, and Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo (NYSE: SBS), off 3.07 percent.

Top Headline

Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) reported better-than-expected second-quarter profit.

The Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company posted a quarterly profit of $2 billion, or $0.68 per share, compared to $906 million, or $0.30 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, it earned $0.85 per share.

Its total sales fell 1% to $10.93 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.81 per share on revenue of $10.59 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN) shares shot up 11.30 percent to $11.72 after the company announced its plans to spin off assets into publicly traded REIT.

Shares of Cognex (NASDAQ: CGNX) got a boost, shooting up 14.94 percent to $43.45 after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and issued a strong Q3 revenue outlook.

MiMedx Group (NASDAQ: MDXG) shares were also up, gaining 12.10 percent to $7.04 after the company reported Q2 earnings of $0.00 per share on revenue of $25.60 million and raised its FY14 sales outlook.

Equities Trading DOWN

Shares of Impax Laboratories (NASDAQ: IPXL) were down 12.81 percent to $24.44 after the FDA issued a Form 483 with 10 inspectional observations for Impax Taiwan plant.

Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) shares tumbled 12.15 percent to $59.28 after the company reported downbeat second-quarter results and issued a weak forecast for the third quarter. However, the company lifted its profit outlook for the year.

Corning (NYSE: GLW) was down, falling 9.55 percent to $19.94 after the company reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings.


In commodity news, oil traded down 0.75 percent to $100.91, while gold traded down 0.28 percent to $1,299.60.

Silver traded up 0.28 percent Tuesday to $20362, while copper fell 0.76 percent to $3.22.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 surged 0.27 percent, the Spanish IBEX Index gained 0.20 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index climbed 0.70 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX jumped 0.58 percent and the French CAC 40 gained 0.48 percent while UK shares rose 0.29 percent.


The ICSC-Goldman same store sales index gained 0.2% in the week ended Saturday versus the earlier week.

The Johnson Redbook same-store sales index declined 0.6% in the first three weeks of July versus June.

US house prices increased 1.1% in May, according to the Case-Shiller index. On a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices slipped 0.3%. However, house prices increased 9.3% y/y in May, versus a 10.8% rise in April.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 90.90 in July, versus a prior reading of 85.20. However, economists were expecting a reading of 85.40.

The FOMC begins its two-day policy meeting today.

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