U.S. stocks are teetering back and forth but showing gains as weak economic outlook pared gains from strong second quarter earnings numbers from some of the world’s largest companies, and bounced back after President Barack Obama’s public address regarding the nation’s debt ceiling and budget cuts. Blue chip stocks like Google (GOOG) and Citigroup (C) reported very strong earnings that beat analyst estimates, and major merger news from BHP Billiton’s (BTL.L) $12 billion offer for Petrohawk (HK) and Carl Icahn’s $10.2 billion offer for Clorox (CLX) helped to boost early trading. But a new report showing consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since March 2009 offset most of the buying momentum. Obama, for his part, expressed a significant sense of urgency regarding a deal with Congress and said he is “ready to move” if lawmakers can show him a “serious plan.” The deadlock in Washington is a growing concern as the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline quickly approaches. The U.S. dollar fell, helping to boost oil prices. Crude is now trading above $97 a barrel after dipping about 2.5 percent yesterday. Gold is trading flat however, but is still making an effort to break through $1,600.
Major U.S. Stock Indices
DJIA: 12,453.65 (+0.14 percent)
S&P 500: 1,313.06 (+.032 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,781.43 (+0.68 percent)
Russell 2000: 827.09 (+0.46 percent)
In other news:
- Embryonic stem-cell research has accelerated under the Obama administration. Some of the larger players in this area include Geron Corp. (GERN) and Advanced Cell Technology Inc. (ACTC). [Bloomberg]
- S&P 500 (MHP) says there’s a 50 percent chance it could lower the U.S. credit rating. Investors didn’t seem to notice. Moody’s (MCO) already said it may lower the nation’s top credit rating just recently. [Bloomberg]
- Eight of the 91 banks failed to pass Europe’s stress test, and an additional 16 narrowly passed. [NY Times]
- Analyst believes that Google’s massive earnings report could mean the search giant can once again be considered a growth company. [CNBC]
- Does Google’s blowout quarter raise the bar for Apple (AAPL)? The iPhone and iPad maker is set to announce its third quarter results next Tuesday. [Fortune]
Check back for more news.