Midday movers: Caterpillar, Halliburton, Microsoft
The Wall Street averages were mixed at midday as advances in Apple, Microsoft buoyed the Nasdaq, but GE's continued slide weighed on the Dow.
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Caterpillar (CAT) reported earnings and revenue that missed consensus, and the company cut its full year forecast. However, shares rose over 0.5% near noon in response to the quarterly report.
Another large cap company that reported this morning, Halliburton (HAL), advanced more than 4% in spite of recording a $637 million charge to increase its reserve related to lawsuits over the Macondo oil spill. The company's revenues and earnings excluding the charge beat expectations.
The hedge fund ValueAct has increased its already sizable stake in Microsoft (MSFT) to $2 billion, according to CNBC's David Faber. The position building may signal plans take up an activist stance and push for changes at the tech giant, whose shares gained nearly 4% following the report. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Among the notable gainers were two companies being acquired: Power-One (PWER) rose 57% to trade near $6.34 after agreeing to be acquired by ABB (ABB) for $6.35 per share in cash, and Met-Pro (MPR) advanced 39% to trade near $13.34 after CECO Environmental (CECE) struck a deal to buy Met-Pro in a cash and stock transaction valued at $13.75 per share.
Among the noteworthy losers was Magnum Hunter (MHR), which fell 8% after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to Hold and lowered its price target for shares to $3.50 from $7.
Also lower were shares of NVR Inc (NVR), down 8% after its earnings report.
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Investors are anxious to see if hiring can maintain its strong pace in the second half of the year.
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