On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday

Stocks opened with modest losses and remained that way for most of the morning. By early afternoon, each of the major stock averages moved into positive territory and added to its all-time highs. There was little in the way of momentum and the averages struggled to stay above the flat line, though they all closed with modest gains. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., EIA inventory data showed a 2.2M barrel rise in crude stocks versus the 2.2M barrel decrease that had been forecast. In Asia, China’s exports grew 6.9% in October while imports rose 17.2%. Both figures were roughly in-line with consensus forecasts. COMPANY NEWS: The complications surrounding AT&T’s (T) proposed acquisition of Time Warner (TWX) continued today, starting with AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens saying at the Wells Fargo Media & Telecom conference that the timing of the proposed deal is “now uncertain.” Later on, Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is asking AT&T for “structural remedies” in order to allay antitrust concerns over the deal, and the New York Times reported that the DOJ said that AT&T and Time Warner may have to sell CNN or DirecTV in order for the merger to gain regulatory clearance. Subsequently, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told media outlets that “Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.” Shares of Time Warner fell 6.5%, while AT&T shares finished the day about 1% higher… Shares of Snap (SNAP) fell sharply in after-hours trading last night after Snapchat’s parent reported disappointing third quarter results, with revenue and Daily Active User growth both missing expectations. Though Snap briefly looked like it might recover after disclosing that China’s Tencent (TCEHY) raised its stake in the company during the quarter, the stock quickly resumed the post-earnings plunge, finishing the day nearly 15% lower… While Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel said the company is currently redesigning its application to make it easier to use, Twitter (TWTR) rolled out the expansion of Tweet character limits to 280 from 140. MAJOR MOVERS: Among notable companies up after earnings were Match Group (MTCH), which climbed 10%, and MGM Resorts (MGM), which advanced 5%. Also, shares of video game maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) jumped 10.5% after the owner of the GTA and NBA 2K franchises reported better than expected September quarter results and raised its outlook. Some noteworthy losers after reporting earnings were Wix.com (WIX), which slumped 13.5%, Humana (HUM), which fell 5% and Wendy’s (WEN), which slid almost 2%. INDEXES: The Dow rose 6.13, or 0.03%, to 23,563.36, the Nasdaq gained 21.34, or 0.32%, to 6,789.12, and the S&P 500 advanced 3.74, or 0.14%, to 2,594.38.

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