Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; Conagra Brands Profit Tops Estimates

Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.21% to 28299.61 while the NASDAQ rose 0.16% to 8,842.20. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.12% to 3,195.01.

Benzinga · 12/19/2019 15:26

Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.21% to 28299.61 while the NASDAQ rose 0.16% to 8,842.20. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.12% to 3,195.01.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Consumer staples shares climbed 0.6% on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD), up 42%, and Conagra Brands Inc (NYSE: CAG), up 17%.

In trading on Thursday, energy shares fell 0.1%.

Top Headline

Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) reported upbeat earnings for its second quarter.

Conagra reported quarterly earnings of 63 cents per share, which beat the analyst consensus estimate of 57 cents. The company reported quarterly sales of $2.82 billion, versus the analyst consensus estimate of $2.8 billion.

 

Equities Trading UP

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) shares shot up 39% to $11.60 after the company reported better-than-expected Q3 EPS and sales results. The company also issued FY20 EPS guidance above analyst estimates.

Shares of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PRTK) got a boost, shooting up 36% to $4.00. Paratek Pharmaceuticals said the Department of Human Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, has awarded it a five-year contract, with an option to extend it to 10 years, to support the development of its Nuzyra for the treatment of pulmonary anthrax.

Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBIO) shares were also up, gaining 30% to $6.22 following news of a license and collaboration deal with Biogen for a dry age-related macular degeneration treatment. The company will receive a $15 million upfront payment and be eligible for an added $340 million in milestones.

Equities Trading DOWN

Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG) shares tumbled 23% to $31.05 after the company reported worse-than-expected Q3 EPS and sales results. The company also cut FY20 EPS guidance below analyst estimates.

Shares of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) were down 13% to $ 8.19. Ascena Retail reported a 1-for-20 reverse stock split, effective December 18, 2019.

Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT) was down, falling 13% to $22.44 after the company reported the retirement of Founder and CEO Steve Streit. Citigroup downgraded Green Dot from Neutral to Sell and lowered the price target from $27 to $21.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.2% to $60.83, while gold traded down 0.1% to $1,478.10.

Silver traded down 0.2% Thursday to $17.015, while copper rose 0.1% to $2.813.

Euro zone

European shares were mostly lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 declined 0.1%, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.5%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped 0.1%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 0.5%, and the French CAC 40 fell 0.2% while UK shares rose 0.2%.

Economics

Initial jobless claims dropped 18,000 to 234,000 in the latest week.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell 10.1 points to a reading of 0.3 in December.

The US current account deficit shrank to $124.1 billion in the third quarter, versus a revised $125.2 billion deficit in the second quarter.

U.S. existing home sales fell 1.7% to an annual rate of 5.35 million units in November, versus market estimates of 0.2% decline.

The index of leading economic indicators was unchanged for November.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is schedule for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The Treasury is set to auction 4-and 8-week bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Data on money supply for the recent week will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.