On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks opened lower amid continuing concern over the Senate and House divide over their tax reform proposals. The averages saw their lows shortly after the open and began to drift higher until eventually moving across the flat line and into positive ground. The averages now stand little changed, as does crude oil. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no major economic data was released. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of General Electric (GE) initially advanced in pre-market trading after the industrial conglomerate announced plans to halve its quarterly dividend to a payout of 12c per share from the current level of 24c per share. However, the stock reversed as more information came from the company's investor update, including earnings guidance for the coming fiscal year that was below expectations. Near noon, GE shares are down over 5%... In M&A news, Qualcomm (QCOM) announced that its board unanimously rejected the unsolicited takeover proposal made by Broadcom (AVGO), which it sees "significantly" undervaluing the company. In response, Broadcom stated that it remains "fully committed" to pursuing its acquisition of Qualcomm and that it remains the company's "strong preference to engage cooperatively" with Qualcomm's board and management. GGP (GGP) confirmed that the company received an unsolicited proposal from Brookfield Property Partners (BPY) to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of GGP other than those shares currently held by BPY and its affiliates. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources, that Hasbro (HAS) has made a takeover bid for beaten-down rival Mattel (MAT)... Alibaba (BABA) announced that $25.3B of gross merchandise volume was settled through Alipay on November 11, an increase of 39% compared to 2016. Meanwhile, rival JD.com (JD) reported that sales for Singles' Day and the events leading up to it were up 50% from last year to reach $19.14B. However, its figure for sales included 11 days of transactions, Reuters noted. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Nektar Therapeutics' (NKTR), which jumped 17% after the company and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) announced the first presentation of data from the PIVOT-02 Phase 1/2 Study, which is designed to evaluate the combination of Bristol-Myers' Opdivo with Nektar's investigational medicine, NKTR-214. Among the noteworthy losers was WisdomTree Investments (WETF), which slid 6% after the company announced that it is acquiring certain assets of ETF Securities and is lowering its quarterly dividend to 3c from 8c per share. Also lower was Chipotle (CMG), which dropped to as low as $263 per share after Jeremy Jordan, an actor who appears on the television show "Supergirl," blamed the burrito chain for an illness that hospitalized him. However, the stock has recovered near noon to be down fractionally at $278.54. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 22.88, or 0.1%, to 23,445.09, the Nasdaq was up 5.84, or 0.09%, to 6,756.78, and the S&P 500 was up 2.73, or 0.11%, to 2,585.03.