US stocks wavered in late afternoon trading following a strong start this morning when Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said another round of stimulus may be near.
Later on Friday, however, some started to show concern that the additional round of financial easing may be overly priced in. Also, fears were widespread about the foreclosure crisis, as many are expecting it to have an effect not only on corporate profits, but also in the credit markets.
Economic data released today also showed that the U.S. economy was still facing a large deflation risk and that consumer spending was gaining some momentum.
The overall U.S. consumer price level, as measured by the consumer price index, increased by 0.1% in September, falling short of the expected 0.2%.
U.S. retail sales increased for the third straight month, increasing by 0.6% in September and topping consensus estimates of 0.5%. In July and August, retail sales increased by 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively.
Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) surged 20% after speculation that private equity firms TPG Capital and KKR are in talks to acquire the company. Seagate’s competitor, Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) also rallied amid the takeover rumours, advancing by 7.7%.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) rallied 11% after its third quarter profits beat analyst estimates.
Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE:GCI) retreated 9% after its third quarter report disappointed investors.
ReneSola (NYSE:SOL) declined 12% one day after Wells Fargo raised its valuation to $19-$21 per share. The company’s share price is currently trading at $12.08.
Other large decliners include Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) and First Horizon National (NYSE:FHN), both losing 7.9%.
The Dow was down by 0.4%, while the S&P 500 edged up by 0.12% shortly before market close. The NASDAQ rallied 1.2% on the back of Google’s strong share performance.
Crude oil futures retreated almost 2%, to trade at $82.60 per barrel. Copper climbed 0.3%, while gold and silver retreated 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively.
The S&P/TSX index was relatively unchanged, trading at the 12,618 level before market close.
Three of eight Canadian sector indices were in the red, with the mining and health sectors declining the most at about 0.6%. The other sectors all gained about 0.2%.
Uranium company Extract Resources (TSX: EGU) was one of the leading percentage gainers, rallying 14.40%.
Taseko Mines (TSX: TKO), Osisko Mining (TSX: OSK), and HudBay Minerals (TSX: HBM) also posted large gains, advancing 8%, 4.4 %, and 3.8%, respectively.
Large percentage losers include Blackpearl Resources (TSX: PXX) and Heritage Oil (TSX: HOC), both declining roughly 4%. Lundin Mining (TSX: LUN), Coeur D'Alene Mines (TSX: CDM) and Alamos Gold (TSX:AGI) all retreated about 3%.