Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc VRTX:NASDAQ

Last Price$176.14NASDAQ Closing Price as of 3:59PM ET 10/15/19

Today's Change+2.55(1.47%)
Bid (Size)$176.14 (2)
Ask (Size)$176.20 (5)
Day Low / High$174.02 - 176.98
Volume762.6 K

Mid-Day Update: US Stocks Jump as Technology Surges Ahead Amid Expectations Next Rate Cut Remains in Play

1:27PM ET 8/01/2019 MT Newswires
US stocks rose, led by strong gains in the technology sector, with focus reverting to earnings and expectations the next interest-rate cut, which is priced into the market, won't have to be undone as another cut in the Fed Funds rates remains in play.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 250.65 points intraday, or 0.93%, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes increasing 0.91% and 1.44%, respectively. The technology sector surged by more than 2%, the biggest gainer, while communication services and materials were also up more than 1% each by around mid-day on Thursday.

Four of the top five percentage gainers in the Dow were technology firms, Microsoft (MSFT), IBM (IBM), Intel (INTC) and Cisco Systems (CSCO).

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals' (VRTX) surged 7.7% after the company reported late Wednesday second-quarter revenue and earnings that beat the consensus estimate. Apart from lifting full-year 2019 sales guidance, the company also announced a $500 million share buyback program.

Corteva Agriscience (CTVA) topped gains in the S&P 500 Index, with shares up more than 9% intraday after the firm reported on Thursday second-quarter adjusted earnings and sales that beat the market estimates.

Shares of Western Digital (WDC) were also 7.7% higher, powering the Nasdaq gains, after CEO Steve Milligan said he was seeing "signs of improving conditions in the flash market and believes that it has reached a cyclical trough." Wedbush raised its rating to neutral from underperform while boosting its price target on the stock to $54.50 From $32.50.

After describing the 25 basis point interest-rate cut, the first in about a decade, as a "mid-cycle adjustment to policy," Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell appeared to walk that statement back, saying he "didn't say it's just "one" rate cut.

"What we're saying (is that) it's not a long cutting cycle," Powell said. "You would do that if you saw real economic weakness and the federal funds rate had to be cut a lot. That's not what we're seeing."

Powell said a cycle of rate cuts was being ruled out, implying the next cut is not out of the realms of possibility, especially if the US economic data warrants the move.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index came in at 51.2% in July, missing the consensus forecast. While the index remains in expansionary territory, the closely-watched indicator has slumped in recent months. Separately, US construction spending dropped by 1.3% in June.

The US 10-year bond yield fell to 1.96%, back below the psychologically important 2% mark, following the rate cut. In the UK, the Bank of England held rates but lowered its outlook due in part to the increasing possibility of a no-deal, hard Brexit, endangering the economy. The pound touched its lowest level in 31 months early on Thursday and the FTSE 100 index also declined at the close on Thursday.

Gold prices fell by more than $10 per ounce and oil prices dropped by almost 3% after the dollar jumped on Fed comments that it was not about to embark on an interest-rate cutting cycle.

Crude futures -- West Texas Intermediate -- were down $1.67 to $56.91 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $2.22 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down to $1,425.70 an ounce, silver was down $0.26 to $16.15 an ounce. Copper was down $0.01 to $2.66 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 2.32% at $11.76. The United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.18% to $19.21. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.18% to 27.05 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 0.29% to $133.59. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.46% to $15.14.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was up 69.63 points (+0.53%) to 13,136.23

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 250.65 points (+0.93%) to 27,114.92

S&P 500 was up 26.94 points (+0.91%) to 3,007.42

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 117.56 points (+1.44%) to 8,292.91

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 1.91 points (-0.03%) to 7,584.87

DAX was up 64.11 points (+0.53%) to 12,253.15

CAC 40 was up 38.51 points (+0.70%) to 5,557.41

HSI was down 212.05 points (-0.76%) to 27,565.70

Shanghai Composite was down 23.74 points (-0.81%) to 2,908.77

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 123.23 points (-1.24%) to 9,849.80

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 13.33 points (+0.16%) to 8,143.48

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 153.12 points (+0.94%) to 16,362.40

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) TCF (+100.75%) Closes merger with Chemical Financial

(+) MYGN (+56.49%) UnitedHealthcare agrees to cover its GeneSight diagnostic test

(+) SPWR (+35.41%) Sets better-than-expected fiscal full-year guidance

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) CFMS (-40.22%) Reports Q2 loss; BTIG downgrades to neutral from buy

(-) PS (-39.23%) Q3 sale and earnings guidance miss Street view

(-) WLL (-37.47%) Cuts 33% of the workforce in restructuring and posts second-quarter results below forecasts