Wall Street: US stocks mixed in morning trading

Written by Associated Press | New York | Updated: Apr 9 2014, 02:31am hrs
US stocks were mixed on Tuesday after a three-day slump. Investors will start to focus on company earnings this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose one point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,846.33 as of 10:55 a.m. (1455 GMT). The Dow Jones industrial was unchanged at 16,245. The Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,099.

DRUG TROUBLE: Gilead fell $1.96, or 2.7 percent, to $70.29 following reports that Express Scripts, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, plans to ask its clients to join a coalition that would stop using Gilead's Sovaldi Hepatitis C treatment once a rival medicine is approved for the U.S. next year. Express Scripts estimates that U.S. spending on Hepatitis C medications will surge 1,800 percent in 2016. Lawmakers last month have already questioned the pricing of Gilead's new drug.

EARNINGS START: Investors will start to focus on corporate earnings again this week. Aluminum company Alcoa will report its first-quarter earnings after the market closes on Tuesday. Energy company Chevron and banks JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are among other companies reporting earnings this week.

THE EARNINGS PICTURE: The slump in stocks over the last three days can be put down to investor jitters before companies publish their earnings latest quarterly results, said Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist of U.S. Trust. He expects the stock market to stabilize as earnings start to come in.

''Seems like every time we come up to earnings season we get a little nervous about the upcoming season,'' Quinlan said. ''This will pass.''

THE SLUMP: The market logged its longest losing streak in two months Monday, extending a sell-off that began last week. A slump that started in technology and biotechnology stocks spread to companies that sell non-essential goods and services.

SPORTING CHANCE: Sportswear company Nike rose $2.23, or 3.2 percent, to $73.08 after an analyst at Stifel recommended buying the stock because of the company's track record in increasing its revenue and earnings. Stifel predicts the stock will rise to $87.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.71 percent from 2.70 percent late Monday. The price of crude oil rose 53 cents to $100.96 a barrel. Gold rose $10.90, or 1 percent, to $1,309 an ounce.