It was a day of chopping trading at the markets, with US stocks hovering between mild gains and losses over continued fiscal cliff worries. Earlier, the White House rejected a budget proposal proposed by House Speaker John Boehner.
“Markets continue to be very much focused on fiscal cliff resolution,” Ryan Larson
, the Chicago-based head of US equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management, told Bloomberg
. His firm oversees $250 billion. “The move over the last few days has been supported by optimism that a deal will be reached by year-end. However, so far today we’re seeing a bit of caution as Congressional leaders remain at different ends on several key issues.”
The Nasdaq Composite
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 0.02% to 3,055.06 points on robust trading volume of 900.87 million as of 12:11 p.m. EST.
(NASDAQ:ALTE) soared 24.19% to $28.75 after rival Markel
(NYSE:MKL) (-7.58%) agreed to buy the company for some $3 billion in cash, or $31 per share, which represents a 34% premium to Alterra’s Tuesday closing price of $23.15.
"The addition of Alterra's reinsurance and large account insurance portfolios will serve to diversify and strengthen Markel's current book of specialty insurance business," said Markel Vice Chairman Steven Markel in a statement.
After taking a Newtown-related 10% tumble yesterday, Smith & Wesson
(NASDAQ:SWHC) recovered 8.34% to $8.44 in spite of a downgrade to Neutral from Outperform from Cowen & Co. Sturm Ruger
(NYSE:RGR) was also up 5.00%.
(NASDAQ:ORCL) improved 4.09% to $34.22 after reporting better-than-expected earnings yesterday, surpassing its previous 52-week high of $33.29. For its fiscal second quarter, Oracle posted per-share profit of $0.64 on revenue of $9.1 billion, compared to the consensus estimate of profit of $0.61 a share and revenue of $9.02 billion.
(NASDAQ:WDC) (+3.55% to $41.01) and Seagate
(NASDAQ:STX) (+3.25%) both rose on the day after getting Buy-from-Hold upgrades from Craig Hallum.
(NASDAQ:NFLX) also advanced 2.01% to $97.56.
(NASDAQ:ONTY) collapsed 53.11% to $2.11 after the company said that the Phase 3 trial of its lung cancer treated failed to meet its primary endpoint of improvement in overall survival. (See also: Oncothyreon Shares Plunge After Lung Cancer Treatment Fails
(NASDAQ:PLXT) plunged 17.67% to $3.71 after the Federal Trade Commission issued an administrative complaint to bock the proposed $330 million. merger between PLX and Integrated Device Technology
(NASDAQ:IDTI) (+4.12%). The FTC said that the deal “allegedly would give the combined firm a near-monopoly in the market for a type of integrated computer circuits called PCIe switches, which perform critical connectivity functions in computers and other electronic devices widely used by American consumers and businesses.”
Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ:HLSS
) also dipped 2.54% to $18.95. On Tuesday, the company announced a follow-on equity offering of some 22 million ordinary shares at $19.00 per share.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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