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While you were sleeping: Caution follows records

Thursday 9th February 2017

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US Treasuries advanced, while Wall Street was mixed, as investors weighed the impact of political uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic on corporate profits.

Gold, another safe-haven investment, also gained.

Wall Street fluctuated even as the latest round of corporate earnings has generally exceeded expectations. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq touched record highs the previous day.

In 1.22pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent, while, in 1.06pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index inched 0.01 percent lower. The Nasdaq Composite Index eked out a 0.03 percent gain.

It’s the first quarter in eight that S&P 500 Index profits will rise fast enough to pronounce an end to the earnings recession, according to Bloomberg. However, investors have been cautious.

“Companies that have beaten expectations haven’t been rewarded as much as usual, at least so far this earnings season,” Dan Suzuki, senior equity strategist at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit, told Bloomberg.

In the Dow, declines in shares of JPMorgan Chase and those of Caterpillar, recently down 1.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of Nike and those of Verizon, which recently traded 1.4 percent and 0.9 percent higher respectively.

In the latest deal news, shares of Tesaro jumed, trading 13.4 percent higher as of 1.25pm in New York. The US biopharmaceutical company is discussing its options with investment banks after receiving acquisition interest from several drugmakers, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tesaro is not actively exploring a sale, the people said this week, noting that there is a significant gap over the company's valuation between Tesaro and potential acquirers, according to Reuters. However, Tesaro is speaking to investment banks, including Citigroup about its strategy and how to best respond to such overtures, the people added.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.3 percent gain from the previous close. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index edged 0.04 percent higher, while France’s CAC 40 Index added 0.3 percent.

Germany’s DAX Index slipped 0.05 percent.

Shares of Syngenta rose after the Swiss seeds and pesticide maker that is being bought by China National Chemical for US$43 billion said both companies are confident the deal will close.

“ChemChina and Syngenta have made significant progress towards achieving the necessary regulatory approvals and closing the transaction,” Syngenta said in a statement discussing its latest earnings.

Both companies “are confident of its closure,” Syngenta said, adding its expects it to close in the second quarter.

Syngenta shares closed 1.1 percent higher in Zurich.

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