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U.S. Stocks Remain in Red Territory

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 12:06 PM
U.S. stocks continued to hover in red territory by mid-day trade on Tuesday as sentiment was slightly downbeat following disappointing economic data from the U.K, which overshadowed successful bond auctioning in Italy and Spain and better than expected small business optimism reading in the U.S. However, stocks are still hovering around all-time high level. At last check, Dow Jones Industrial Average Index slipped 0.04%; the NASDAQ Composite Index fell 0.49% while the S&P 500 Index lost 0.27%. A data provided by the National Federation of Independent Business showed that small-business optimism index for February rose to 90.8 from 88.9 in January, edging past analysts’ expectation of 90. Shares of VeriFone Systems (NYSE: PAY) gained about 5.50% by midday trade as the maker of card-payment systems announced that its CEO, Douglas Bergeron, will step down from his role after remaining for 12 year at the helm of affairs. Shares of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) edged up after the parent Company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell said that same-store sales in China fell less than expected in first two months of 2013.  Sales fell sharply at its KFC stores in China during last two weeks of December following TV report which showed that some of its chicken products contained more-than-desired levels of antibiotics and hormones. As result Chinese consumers deserted KFC stores in droves. The Company was expecting 25% drop in same-store-sales at its KFC stores but it fell by 24% while same-store-sales at Pizza Hut rose 2%. In the U.K. manufacturing output in January contracted 1.5%, while economists’ expectation was for 0.1% increase. Following the data release the Pound Sterling fell to its 2-½ year low against the U.S. dollar. Spain and Italy successfully raised its targeted amount of money through successful bond auctioning although borrowing cost for Rome rose sharply. The Pan European Stoxx 600 Index was inching up 0.07%, FTSE was gaining 0.26% while DAX was down 0.32%, at last check.
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