Midway through trading Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.42% to 28356.89 while the NASDAQ rose 0.46% to 8868.07. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.30% to 3,200.62.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
In trading on Thursday, utilities shares fell 0.4%.
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 45% to $12.10 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 33% to $3.93. 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 44% to $6.88 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 24% to $30.63 after the company reported worse-than-expected Q3 EPS and sales results. The company also cut FY20 EPS guidance below analyst estimates.
Shares of Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: EKSO) were down 22% to $0.42 after the company reported a $5 million registered direct offering at $0.45 per share.
Minerva Neurosciences Inc (NASDAQ: NERV) was down, falling 20% to $5.51. Minerva Neurosciences said the Phase 2b study that evaluated MIN-117 in adult patients with moderate to severe major depressive disorder, or MDD, failed to meet its primary and key secondary endpoints. The company said it has no plans for further clinical development of the molecule in MDD.
In commodity news, oil traded up 0.7% to $61.38, while gold traded up 0.2% to $1,480.90.
Silver traded up 0.1% Thursday to $17.07, while copper rose 0.3% to $2.8195.
European shares were mostly higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.05%, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.06%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index gained 0.13%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 0.15%, and the French CAC 40 rose 0.06% while UK shares rose 0.44%.
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.
Domestic supplies of natural gas dropped 107 billion cubic feet for the week ended December 13, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts projected a drop of 93 billion cubic feet.
Data on money supply for the recent week will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.