Midday movers: Wal-Mart, Pfizer, Xerox
Political uncertainty in Europe and allegations of bribery at Wal-Mart kick the week off on a sour note.
Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) dragged on the Dow, declining 4.6% after The New York Times said the company focused on damage control instead of fixing problems after finding "evidence of widespread" bribery at Wal-Mart de Mexico.
Another Dow component, Pfizer (PFE), also slid following major news, falling almost 1% after agreeing to sell its Nutrition business to Nestle (NSRGY) for $11.85 billion.
Among companies reporting earnings, advancers included Brinker (EAT) and Xerox (XRX); decliners included Hasbro (HAS) and Check Point (CHKP).
Facebook announced plans to buy a part of the patent portfolio Microsoft (MSFT) recently agreed to acquire from AOL (AOL). (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Among the notable gainers were Ardea Biosciences (RDEA), up 52%, on news it will be acquired by AstraZeneca (AZN) for $32 per share, and Central European Distribution (CEDC), up 14%, after Russian Standard agreed to invest $100 million in the company as part of a strategic alliance.
Also higher were shares of Amylin (AMLN), up 10%, after Reuters said over the weekend that the company has hired banks to explore a potential sale.
Noteworthy losers included Achillion (ACHN), down over 18%, following a downgrade at JMP Securities after the release of interim ACH-1625 data at a conference over the weekend, and STMicroelectronics (STM), down 11%, after ST-Ericsson, its 50/50 joint venture with Ericsson (ERIC), said it will cut 1,700 jobs amid plans to pursue a new strategic direction.
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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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