Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Mostly Higher; Caterpillar Earnings Beat Expectations

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Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.30 percent to 26,330.71 while the NASDAQ climbed 0.01 percent to 7,415.09. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.04 percent to 2,838.67.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Thursday morning, the healthcare sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ: PACB ) and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: VAR ).

In trading on Thursday, cyclical consumer goods & services shares fell 0.39 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE: BGG ), down 10 percent, and Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: SHLD ) down 9 percent.

Top Headline

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT ) reported upbeat earnings for its fourth quarter.

Caterpillar earned $2.16 per share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $12.9 billion, while Wall Street analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.79 per share on revenue of $11.98 billion.

Caterpillar expects FY18 adjusted earnings of $8.25 to $9.25 per share, versus analysts’ estimates of $8.19 per share.

Equities Trading UP

Key Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTEC ) shares shot up 50 percent to $26.66 as Duravant announced plans to purchase Key Technology at $26.75 per share in cash.

Shares of Lightbridge Corp (NASDAQ: LTBR ) got a boost, shooting up 72 percent to $3.70. Lightbridge is schedule to hold press conference on January 25, 2018 regarding proposed joint venture with Framatome.

Summit Therapeutics PLC (ADR) (NASDAQ: SMMT ) shares were also up, gaining 16 percent to $14.15 after the company disclosed that ezutromisd significantly reduced muscle damage in DMD patients in 24-week interim data.

Equities Trading DOWN

ConforMIS Inc (NASDAQ: CFMS ) shares dropped 34 percent to $1.50. ConforMIS priced 13.33 million share offering at $1.50 per share.

Shares of Horizon Global Corp (NYSE: HZN ) were down 29 percent to $9.18 after the company lowered its FY17 forecast.

Newell Brands Inc (NYSE: NWL ) was down, falling around 18 percent to $25.50 after the company cut its FY17 guidance. The company also disclosed that it is exploring a series of strategic initiatives for some of its assets.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.19 percent to $66.39 while gold traded up 0.24 percent to $1,364.60.

Silver traded up 0.46 percent Thursday to $17.57, while copper rose 0.42 percent to $3.242.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 climbed 0.24 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.43 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index surged 0.76 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 0.12 percent, and the French CAC 40 climbed 0.49 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.20 percent.


U.S. initial jobless claims increased 13,000 to 233,000 in the latest week. However, economists were expecting claims to reach 236,000 last week.

New-home sales declined 9.3 percent at an annual rate of 625,000 in December. Economists projected a 680,000 annual rate for December.

U.S. leading economic indicators rose 0.6 percent for December.

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 Kansas City Fed manufacturing index for January will be released at 11:00 a.m. ET.

The Treasury is set to auction 7-year notes at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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

© 2018 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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