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Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Mostly Higher; US Retail Sales Down 0.5% In February

Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded down 0.04% to 20,179.72 while the NASDAQ rose 0.56% to 6,943.51. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.04% to 2,410.83. South Korea confirmed a total of over 8,300 coronavirus cases, while Italy reported a total

Benzinga · 03/17/2020 14:25

Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded down 0.04% to 20,179.72 while the NASDAQ rose 0.56% to 6,943.51. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.04% to 2,410.83. South Korea confirmed a total of over 8,300 coronavirus cases, while Italy reported a total of at least 27,000 confirmed cases and 2,000 deaths. Total cases in the US exceeded 4,500 with around 90 deaths. Mainland China reported 21 additional confirmed cases. In total, there are at least 185,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 7,300 deaths.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Utilities shares climbed 3.9% on Tuesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included TerraForm Power, Inc. (NASDAQ: TERP), up 11%, and WEC Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: WEC), up 11%.

In trading on Tuesday, energy shares dipped 2.5%.

Top Headline

U.S. retail sales fell 0.5% for February, versus a revised 0.6% growth in January. Economists were expecting for a 0.2% increase in retail sales.

Equities Trading UP

Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: APRN) shares shot up 80% to $6.76 after surging over 67% on Monday.

Shares of BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) got a boost, shooting 61% to $64.38. Pfizer and BioNTech confirmed they have agreed to a letter of intent regarding co-development and distribution of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine, BNT162, to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CODX) shares were also up, gaining 29% to $11.75 after the company said a new policy the FDA released Monday regarding expediting the availability of COVID-19 diagnostics will allow the company to aggressively expand its presence in the U.S. Due to the change in the policy, the company's test kit will soon be available for use by and marketed to a wide array of U.S. laboratories without first requiring Emergency Use Authorization, according to Co-Diagnostics.

Equities Trading DOWN

DBV Technologies S.A. (NASDAQ: DBVT) shares tumbled 55% to $2.3901 after the company said the FDA has identified questions regarding efficacy, including the impact of patch-site adhesion, with respect to its investigational peanut allergy skin patch Viaskin Peanut. The FDA has decided not to hold anAllergenic Products Advisory Committee meeting May 15 to discuss the BLA as per the original schedule.

Shares of Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) were down 31% to $11.94.

Tutor Perini Corporation (NYSE: TPC) was down, falling 32% to $3.61. B. Riley FBR lowered the price target on Tutor Perini from $19 to $17.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded up 1.6% to $29.15, while gold traded down 1.1% to $1,470.70.

Silver traded down 5.2% Tuesday to $12.155, while copper fell 1.6% to $2.3545.

Euro zone

European shares were mostly lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 1.7% the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.9%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index rose 0.1%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 2.2%, and the French CAC 40 fell 1.6% while UK shares fell 1.8%.

Economics

U.S. retail sales fell 0.5% for February, versus economists’ expectations for a 0.2% increase.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index rose 1.1% during the first two weeks of March versus February.

U.S. industrial production rose 0.6% in February, versus a revised 0.5% decline in January.

The NAHB housing market index declined to 72 in March versus a prior reading of 74.

U.S. business inventories dropped 0.1% in January, versus a revised flat reading for December.

The number of job openings climbed by 411,000 to 6.963 million in January, versus a revised 6.552 million in the earlier month.