Major Averages Mixed at Midday
13-Feb-13 13:05 ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages are seeing mixed performance at midday. The Dow is lower by 0.3%, the S&P 500 is registering no change while Nasdaq is outperforming slightly.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is receiving some support from Comcast (CMCSA 40.72, +1.75). The media stock is firmer by 4.5% after reporting strong earnings. In addition, the media company hiked its dividend 20% to $0.78 and announced plans to buy back up to $2 billion of its shares. Comcast also said it has acquired General Electric's (GE 23.32, +0.74) 49% stake in NBC Universal.
Shares of General Electric are responding favorably to the acquisition as the company is expected to see an expansion of its margins during this year.
General Electric is contributing to the relative strength of the industrial sector, which has been the top performing space of the day. Meanwhile, discretionary stocks have also outperformed on the relative strength of Comcast.
Though the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF (XLY 50.88, +0.13) trades higher by 0.3%, restaurant operators are lagging. McDonald's (MCD 93.95, -1.15) is down 1.3% after President Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9/hour during last night's State of the Union address.
Another sector component, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD 77.00, -4.07), is shedding 5.0% after missing on the bottom line.
Overseas, comments concerned with current levels of major currencies continued. In the United Kingdom, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said heightened inflation expectations will not cause the central bank to implement looser monetary policy.
Shortly thereafter, reports indicated some European Central Bank officials are worried the recent strength of the euro will hamper the recovery in crisis states. However, these reports were soon followed by remarks from Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who said another major crisis could develop if countries continue to flood the world with money.
Currency-related comments are likely to continue through the weekend with the G20 summit set to begin on Friday.
The day's economic data was largely in-line with expectations. During December, business inventories rose by 0.1%, which was lower than the 0.3% increase expected by the Briefing.com consensus. Today's reading follows the prior month's revised uptick of 0.2%.
January retail sales rose 0.1%, which was in-line with the forecast. The prior month's reading pointed to an increase of 0.5%. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.2%, which was slightly higher than the expected uptick of 0.1%.
Export prices, excluding agriculture, increased by 0.5% in January after they had decreased by 0.2% during the prior month. Excluding oil, import prices increased by 0.2%, which followed the 0.1% decrease experienced in the prior month.