Mid-Afternoon Market Update: GNC Surges Following Strong Earnings Guidance; Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Shares Slide

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Toward the end of trading Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.22 percent to 26,057.91 while the NASDAQ gained 0.15 percent to 7,309.59. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.02 percent to 2,803.00.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Thursday afternoon, the telecommunications services sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from NQ Mobile Inc (ADR) (NYSE: NQ ) and Internet Gold Golden Lines Ltd (NASDAQ: IGLD ).

In trading on Thursday, utilities shares fell 0.85 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK ), down 4 percent, and Southwest Gas Holdings Inc (NYSE: SWX ) down 3 percent.

Top Headline

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) reported better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley posted adjusted earnings of $0.84 per share in the quarter on revenue of $9.50 billion which exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for $0.77 per share and $9.19 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Spi Energy Co Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: SPI ) shares shot up 49 percent to $1.28 after the company disclosed a strategic partnership with Hoofoo Inc., the hack-proof cryptocurrency hardware wallet.

Shares of Live Ventures Inc (NASDAQ: LIVE ) got a boost, shooting up 21 percent to $17.71. Live Ventures reported FY 2017 adjusted earnings of $2.94 per share on revenue of $152 million.

GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE: GNC ) shares were also up, gaining 42 percent to $4.93 after the company issued a strong earnings forecast for the fourth quarter. The company’s Q4 same store sales rose 5.7 percent.

Equities Trading DOWN

Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE: IIPR ) shares dropped 10 percent to $27.98. Innovative Industrial Properties priced 2.8 million share common stock offering at $26 per share for gross proceeds of $72.8 million.

Shares of Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: DFFN ) were down 38 percent to $0.688 after the company reported a $12 million underwritten public offering.

Paratek Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: PRTK ) was down, falling around 10 percent to $15.95. Paratek reported a common stock public offering of $50 million.


In commodity news, oil traded up 0.13 percent to $64.05 while gold traded down 0.67 percent to $1,330.20.

Silver traded down 0.85 percent Thursday to $17.02, while copper rose 0.38 percent to $3.201.


European shares closed mostly higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 rose 0.19 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index slipped 0.40 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index gained 0.49 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 0.74 percent, and the French CAC 40 rose 0.02 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.32 percent.


U.S. housing starts slipped 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.19 million in December. However, economists were estimating a 1.27 million rate.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index declined to 22.20 in January, versus a prior reading of 27.90. Economists expected a reading of 25.00.

U.S. initial jobless claims dropped 41,000 to 220,000 in the latest week. However, economists were expecting claims to reach 250,000 last week.

Domestic supplies of natural gas dropped 183 billion cubic feet for the latest week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts projected a decline of 199 billion cubic feet.

Domestic crude supplies slipped 6.86 million barrels for the week ended January 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts expected a drop of 3.54 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles gained 3.62 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell 3.89 million barrels for the week.

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

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester is set to speak in New York at 6:05 p.m. ET.

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