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Feb 21, 2013

NYT | Global Update February 21, 2013.: Car Bomb in Damascus Kills Dozens, Opposition Says

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
February 21, 2013
Compiled 21:45 GMT

Global Update

TOP NEWS

Car Bomb in Damascus Kills Dozens, Opposition Says

By ANNE BARNARD and RICK GLADSTONE
A blast on Thursday near the Damascus headquarters of President Bashar al-Assad's ruling party killed mostly civilians but also security forces, opposition sources said.

Police Replace Pistorius Detective in Setback

By LYDIA POLGREEN and ALAN COWELL
A detective investigating the athlete Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of killing his girlfriend, is himself facing seven attempted murder charges, South African police said.

Cyprus Trial Spurs Call for E.U. to Act Against Hezbollah

By NICHOLAS KULISH
A Hezbollah operative, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, said at his trial on Thursday that he was told to record the arrival times of flights from Israel to Cyprus.
Multimedia

Lens Blog

The Newest and Youngest Americans

By JOHN MOORE
John Moore, an experienced conflict photographer familiar with America's immigration debate, photographed 300 children, born abroad, becoming citizens.
Opinion

Latitude

Classes Warfare

By HARTOSH SINGH BAL
Most seats in India's top nursery schools go to the children of the rich or the well-connected.
WORLD

Deadly Bombings Hit Southern India City

By HEATHER TIMMONS and GARDINER HARRIS
Two bombs planted on bicycles killed at least 11 people and wounded 50 in a busy shopping district in Hyderabad Thursday night in what officials said may have been a coordinated attack.

Bulgarian Parliament Accepts Government's Resignation

By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER and DAN BILEFSKY
The resignation of the government of Prime Minster Boiko Borisov came after a week of mass protests and bloody clashes with police.

NATO Plan Tries to Avoid Sweeping Cuts in Afghan Troops

By THOM SHANKER
A proposal to expand NATO support of Afghanistan's forces would allow the country to sustain 352,000 troops through 2018, many more than earlier expected, alliance officials said.
BUSINESS

Via Video, a Front-Row Seat to a Fashion Show

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Video has become a source that helps the fashion industry determine which runway items will be hits in stores.

Ramping Up U.S. Production, Ford Expands in Ohio

By BILL VLASIC
Ford said it would spend $200 million to renovate a Cleveland plant to produce small, turbocharged engines for use in its top-selling models.
Media Decoder Blog

TVs Connected to the Internet to Be Counted by Nielsen

By BRIAN STELTER
Americans who have spurned cable, but who have a television set hooked up to the Internet, will now be counted as a "television household" by The Nielsen Company.
TECHNOLOGY

Some Victims of Online Hacking Edge Into the Light

By NICOLE PERLROTH
Few American corporations that have been hacked in recent years have publicly acknowledged it, but some are now stepping forward, reflecting new ways of judging such disclosures.

Google Searches for Style

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
As Google and other companies begin to build wearable technology devices, an industry not known for its fashion sense faces a new challenge.

With PlayStation 4, Sony Aims for Return to Glory

By BRIAN X. CHEN and DAVID STREITFELD
Sony held a gathering in New York City to introduce its new PlayStation, but it did not unveil the console and did not say when it would go on sale.
SPORTS

A Giant Killer, Even if It Is Lacking in Big Names

By ROB HUGHES
Milan lost a lot of its stars over the summer, but you wouldn't know that from watching the club upset Barcelona, 2-0, in the first leg of its Champions League series.

Italian Police Arrest Suspect in International Soccer Fixing

By GAIA PIANIGIANI and DAVID JOLLY
Admir Suljic is thought to be an associate of Tan Seet Eng, a Singaporean who has been implicated in suspected match-fixing cases dating back more than a decade.

Japanese Players Open a New Frontier: Super Rugby

By EMMA STONEY
Fumiaki Tanaka and Shota Horie are likely to become the first Japanese players to participate in the Southern Hemisphere competition.
U.S. NEWS

Routed by Katrina, Stuck in Quagmire of Rules

By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
As people in the Northeast set off on the road back from Hurricane Sandy, Errol Joseph sees his story in New Orleans as a cautionary tale.

Latest Front in the Gun Debate Is Mandatory Insurance

By MICHAEL COOPER and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
A larger role for the insurance industry seems to be a point of common ground in the divide on gun control, but the two sides differ on state proposals to mandate liability coverage.

Business and Labor Leaders Urge Visa System for Low-Skilled Work

By ASHLEY PARKER
The two groups, which have feuded in the past over an immigration overhaul, outlined goals designed to show that they could reach a compromise.
OPINION
Op-Ed Columnist

Find the Missing Word

By ROGER COHEN
An ancient clay cylinder smaller than an American football journeys to the United States with a message of tolerance.
Op-Ed Columnist

Peculiar Naming Rites

By GAIL COLLINS
Now, we're not ones to go around spreading rumors. Why, really, we're just not the gossipy kind!
Op-Ed Contributor

Cry, the Misogynistic Country

By EUSEBIUS McKAISER
The Pistorius case shows that violent crime is not limited to the poor or committed only by impoverished blacks against wealthy whites.

Money Show Investors Daily Alert February 21, 2013.: There's 'Black Gold' in Pipeline Stocks, Louis Navellier

INVESTORS DAILY ALERT

The Daily Guru
No-Nonsense Investing
Jim Jubak on MoneyShow.com
TOP PROS' TOP PICKS
GURUS' VIEWS & STRATEGIES
CHARTS IN PLAY
MoneyShow.com Exclusive Interviews
IDEAS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Today's Featured Videos
Income or Growth?, Richard Lehmann

DealBook P.M. EditionFebruary 21, 2013.: In Apple Fight, Einhorn Unveils 'iPrefs'


NYTimes.com Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times


Thursday, February 21, 2013
TOP STORY
In Apple Fight, Einhorn Unveils 'iPrefs' Apple Inc. has introduced more innovative consumer products than perhaps any other company has over the past decade: the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. Now the hedge fund manager David Einhorn wants the company to roll out what he calls "iPrefs," which he say could produce $61 a share in additional benefits for investors. It's a cutesy name for the class of perpetual preferred shares that Mr. Einhorn has called upon the technology giant to roll out as a way to deliver more cash to its shareholders. And for over an hour on Thursday, the Greenlight Capital chief patiently walked listeners through his argument about why those securities make the most sense for returning the company's $137 billion cash hoard to what he said were its rightful owners.

DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
Rothschild Loses Battle for Control of Mining Company Bumi Bumi shareholders voted against a major board change proposed by the British financier Nathaniel Rothschild, including his goal to replace 12 of Bumi's 14 board members.
For Michael Kors, Cashing Out Is Very Much in Fashion Since the I.P.O. of his fashion company in 2011, Michael Kors has sold roughly $650 million worth of his company's stock. He still retains a roughly $300 million stake.
Carlyle's Profit Fell in 4th Quarter as Growth Slowed Fourth-quarter profit fell 28 percent as the growth of the firm's portfolio companies slowed. The results fell short of those of Carlyle's rivals like the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Linn Energy to Buy Berry Petroleum for $2.5 Billion Deal making in the oil patch continued, as Linn Energy agreed to buy Berry Petroleum for about $2.5 billion in stock, expanding its presence in oil-rich shale formations.
The Tax Advantages Behind an Oil Deal Linn Energy's acquisition of Berry Petroleum is the first time an oil-producing master limited partnership has swallowed a whole exploration company, notes Christopher Swann of Reuters Breakingviews.
In Qatar, a New Wave of I.P.O.'s Looks a Bit Ambitious The planned I.P.O. bonanza in Qatar is intended to foster a more responsible spending culture among its citizens, but there are concerns that the markets will not be able to absorb all the new issues, writes Una Galani of Reuters Breakingviews.
LOOKING AHEAD
New forecasts for the euro zone economy will be released. Interpublic Group reports quarterly results.

Quotation of the Day
"Michael, you're the man!"
Randal Konik, an analyst with Jefferies,after a strong earnings report by Michael Kors. .

Wall Street at Close Report February 21, 2013.: U.S. stocks extend losses into second day

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks fell Thursday, with the S&P 500 tallying its first two-day losing run this month, as a weak regional manufacturing index and uncertainty over U.S. monetary moves hit sentiment. 

“We’re facing sequestration, gas prices are higher and the payroll tax just went up, so people are starting to realize the impact on their paychecks,” said Schwab director of market and sector research Brad Sorensen. 



Focus on funds: Gold tanks
Jack Otter and Brendan Conway on why the price of gold has been falling, and what triggered the most recent selloff.


The approach of the March 1 deadline for federal budget reductions, known as sequestration, also kept investors on shaky ground, with the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX VIX +3.68% , rising 9.5% following a 19% rise on Wednesday, its greatest leap since late 2011. 

But Main Street and Wall Street are suffering from “government crisis fatigue — as we’ve been down this road so many times, so it’s another thing that goes into the mix,” said Sorensen. 

After falling as much as 93 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.34%  closed down 46.92 points, or 0.3%, to 13,880.62, with two thirds of its 30 components in the red. 

Moderating the drop, component Hewlett-Packard Co. HPQ +6.40%   rose 2.4% before reporting first-quarter results after the close. Read more on movement in tech stocks.
 
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +1.52%  climbed 1.5% after the retailer reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat estimates and hiked its dividend. Read more on Wal-Mart.

 

Watch these stocks Thursday
WSJ's John Shipman joins the News Hub to discuss why he's watching stock news on Wal-Mart, Constellation Brands and Verifone in the markets today. Photo: Getty Images. 

The S&P 500 index SPX -0.63%  retreated 9.53 points, or 0.6%, to 1,502.42, with information technology falling the most among its 10 major sectors. 

“The S&P 500 is coming up on first support at 1,495. On a clear break, our downside target is the 1,474 area. This is the home of the 50-day moving average and the January break,” noted Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Company. 

Verifone Systems Inc. PAY +0.33%  fell nearly 43% after the manufacturer of credit-card terminals projected second-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates due to Europe’s soft economic climate. 

Safeway Inc. SWY +14.11%  shares leapt 14% after the grocery-store chain reported a rise in fourth-quarter net income, with its chairman and chief executive telling a conference call there had been no noticeable impact from the payroll-tax cut that reduced paychecks for many. Read more on Safeway’s results.
 
The Nasdaq Composite index COMP -1.04%  declined 32.92 points, or 1%, to 3,131.49, leaving it down 0.3% for the month. 

For every stock rising more than two fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 814 million shares traded. Composite volume exceeded 4.2 billion.

Keeping drop in perspective

Investors were looking for a reason to pause an advance that has the S&P 500 index currently up more than 5% for the year, said Schwab’s Sorensen. “Typically after the run we’ve seen I wouldn’t be surprised by a pullback in the 3% to 5% range. We probably needed a bit of a selloff to get some of the speculative money out of there,” he said. 

On Wednesday, stocks fell sharply after the release of minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting revealed talk of scaling back economic stimulus by varying the rate of Fed asset purchases. 

“There were a few Fed members that talked about the possibility of adjusting their asset purchases. And certainly there are some on the street that believe they should stop, or at least reduce them, and let the economy start running on its own. It’s encouraging they believe the economy is strong enough to handle that now,” Sorensen said. 

Equity investors “might have been looking for an excuse to take profits,” said Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital Inc. “If it wasn’t the Fed minutes, it might have been something else,” he added. 

While the market is likely in for near-term declines, stock prices should trend higher, given the Federal Reserve’s policy of monetary easing, said Schiff, who opposes the economic stimulus. “I don’t think stock prices are going to go up as fast as gas prices, for example,” Schiff said. 

In economic news, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s index fell to minus 12.5 in February from minus 5.8 the month before. Read: Weakening new orders hit manufacturing.
 
Other economic reports had the index of U.S. leading indicators climbing for a second month in January, and the sale of previously owned homes up 0.4% in January. Read: Home sales inch up in January.
 
The Labor Department reported jobless claims rose by 20,000 to 362,000 last week and that consumer prices were little changed last month, with a decline in energy costs helping to offset rising prices for goods and services. Read more on jobless claims.
 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

BIV Today's Business News February 21, 2013 | Mining and Energy: BC Hydro subsidiary on the hook for market manipulation in California



Mining and Energy

BC Hydro subsidiary on the hook for market manipulation in California

A U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) judge ruled last week that ... READ MORE

Media and Marketing

 

Senior manager leaves MAC Marketing following media manipulation scandal

  • A senior manager at MAC Marketing Solutions has left the company in the wake of a scandal that involved the company's employees pretending to be ... READ MORE

Politics and Policy

 

Liberals elaborate on $76m child-care funding budget plan

Premier Christy Clark yesterday elaborated on her plan to invest $76 million on... READ MORE

More News...

   

Canada’s corporate tax rate competitive globally: KPMG

Mining deal value and volume down: Ernst & Young

Decline in truck drivers will affect Canadian economy: conference board

 

This Week's Issue

TimberWest and nature conservancy received $10 million in carbon credits

TimberWest received $5.6 million from cash-strapped school districts, hospitals and municipal organizations under the ... READ MORE

Life Lessons

 

Blaine Lambert: Staff engagement can save you in hard times

Fresh into a job running a travel agency, Blaine Lambert recalls trying to solve a problem of ... READ MORE

Kelly Ernst

Why addressing the income gap would be good for the economy

Statistics Canada reports that the income gap between the top 1% of Canadians and everyone else continues to ... READ MORE

 

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin: February 21, 2013.


ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Thursday, 21 February 2013


London Market Report
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Stocks tank after Fed wavers on QE

    Market Movers
    techMARK 2,301.94 -1.21%
    FTSE 100 6,291.54 -1.62%
    FTSE 250 13,554.71 -1.35%
Hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve weighed heavily on markets on Thursday with cyclical stocks bearing the brunt of the sell-off as traders looked to book some profits after a strong run in recent months.

The FTSE 100 was boosted on Wednesday to highs not seen since January 2008 after minutes from this month's Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed that, while still outvoted, more members - including Bank Governor Sir Mervyn King - called for additional stimulus for the UK economy.

However, minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee were dominating the headlines today after they showed a more hawkish tone among policy-makers, suggesting that the Fed would soon begin to scale back its quantitative easing programme soon.

Cyclical sectors such as mining, banking and construction were among the worst performers of the day, as risk appetite on equity markets dampened.
Plenty of economic data to digest
A barrage of disappointing economic data was also weighing on the markets today.

Eurozone purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) released this morning showed that the downturn in the region steepened in February. The Eurozone composite PMI index fell to 47.3 points from January’s reading of 48.6, while the consensus had expected to see an improvement to 49.0 points.

US economic data also disappointed today, pressuring stocks lower on Wall Street. Both jobless claims and CPI inflation came in above forecasts, while the Philly Fed manufacturing index missed estimates.

Domestic data lifted the mood slightly though as UK public-sector borrowing excluding financial interventions showed a better-than-expected surplus of £11.4bn in January, up £5bn from a year earlier.
FTSE 100: BAE a rare bright spot after initiating buyback
UK defence giant BAE Systems may have posted a fall in sales and earnings in 2012, but shares gained strongly this morning after the company initiated a share buy-back worth £1.0bn over the next three years.

British supermarket Sainsbury has said no horsemeat was found in its beef products following 250 tests in line with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), prompting shares to rise.

Aviva was also higher after Exane BNP moved its target from 369p to 414p and upgraded the stock to outperform.

Miners were under the weather risk appetite was scaled back after the weak economic data and Fed minutes. EVRAZ, Vedanta and BHP Billiton were among the worst performers, with the latter hit by a downgrade from Citi to 'neutral'.

Oil producer Tullow fell after saying that it was forced to plug and abandon a well in Uganda after it couldn't find hydrocarbons.

B&Q owner Kingfisher was lower after reporting a decline in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter as it battled against weak consumer confidence, unfavourable foreign exchange and poor weather in the UK.
FTSE 250: CSR impresses with full-year numbers
Shares of wireless technology firm CSR stormed ahead after it posted record full-year revenue and underlying gross margin, boosted its dividend payment and said it expects good growth in core revenues for 2013.

Bumi shares rose as investors awaited the outcome of a much anticipated shareholder meeting being held today. The company told Sharecast that it is unlikely to release a statement until 18:00 today.

Miners were leading the falls on the second-tier index, with Ferrexpo, New World Resources and Centamin registering heavy losses. New World reported this morning that revenue fell 20% in 2012 while operating profit plunged 80%.

High Street betting shop Ladbrokes was lower despite registering record revenues in UK retail in 2012 and saying that 2013 has had a "promising" start. Analyst Simon Davies from Canaccord Genuity said that evidence of a recovery online "will be required to spark a material further re-rating".

Transport group Go-Ahead fell after saying that while full-year profits will be in line with forecasts, second-half trading at its Rail division would remain "challenging".

AIM/Small Cap Report
FTSE 100 - Risers
BAE Systems (BA.) 345.90p +4.12%
Pearson (PSON) 1,222.00p +1.41%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 118.00p +0.85%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 337.80p +0.81%
Rexam (REX) 505.50p +0.70%
Aviva (AV.) 355.90p +0.54%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 157.40p +0.51%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 266.70p -4.99%
CRH (CRH) 1,336.00p -4.84%
Barclays (BARC) 306.45p -4.22%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,206.00p -4.06%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,097.00p -3.96%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 425.30p -3.76%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,518.50p -3.51%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 674.00p -3.44%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 919.50p -3.36%
WPP (WPP) 1,033.00p -3.19%

FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 432.70p +12.27%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 440.00p +5.77%
Bumi (BUMI) 391.30p +3.16%
Hiscox Ltd. (HSX) 498.20p +2.11%
Alent (ALNT) 374.90p +2.07%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,843.00p +1.43%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 208.00p +0.97%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,370.00p +0.96%
Britvic (BVIC) 418.10p +0.75%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 312.30p +0.52%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 251.40p -9.24%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 275.60p -6.89%
Afren (AFR) 145.00p -5.54%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 383.10p -4.70%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 200.00p -4.53%
FirstGroup (FGP) 180.20p -4.15%
Henderson Group (HGG) 162.10p -4.08%
Savills (SVS) 520.00p -3.79%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 91.85p -3.72%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 386.30p -3.57%

Europe Market Report
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European Markets Declined Thursday On Weak Economic Data

The European markets finished in the red Thursday following the release of several weaker than expected pieces of economic data. A larger than expected increase in U.S. jobless claims and the unexpected decline in the Philly Fed index also contributed to the negative mood. Thursday's session was also the first opportunity that European investors had to react to the FOMC minutes, which was released after the close yesterday. Investors will be awaiting the results of the Italian elections which will be held over the weekend.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks declined by 2.28 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 1.36 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped by 1.88 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell by 2.29 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. decreased by 1.61 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 1.58 percent.

In Frankfurt, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank declined by 2.79 percent and 3.99 percent, respectively. Insurer Allianz, which reported annual results, fell by 2.78 percent.

Deutsche Boerse finished down by 2.39 percent, following a ratings downgrade at S&P Equity. Bilfinger Berger dropped by 2.90 percent. UBS downgraded the stock to ''Neutral'' from ''Buy.''

Kloeckner shrugged off ratings downgrades at Citigroup and Commerzbank and gained 3.65 percent.

In Paris, Societe Generale dropped by 4.53 percent. BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole lost 4.55 percent and 4.43 percent.

Axa sank 3.14 percent, after reporting a lower annual profit. Danone fell by 1.24 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the dairy giant to ''Buy'' from ''Conviction Buy.''

Schneider Electric, which reported higher profit, climbed by 2.31 percent. Cap Gemini and Technip, which also announced financial results, rose by 0.08 percent and 4.29 percent, respectively.

In London, BAE Systems increased by 4.12 percent. The company lifted its dividend, and initiated a three-year share repurchase program of up to 1 billion pounds.

BHP Billiton lost 3.96 percent, after Citigroup downgraded the miner to "Neutral" from "Buy." Kazakhmys declined by 3.44 percent and Anglo American decreased by 1.44 percent. Eurasian Natural Resources dropped by 2.68 percent and Rio Tinto fell by 3.51 percent.

Retailer Kingfisher reported a marginal growth in fourth-quarter revenues. The stock finished lower by 0.04 percent.

Swiss Re gained 2.51 percent in Zurich, after proposing higher dividends.

US Market Report
Stocks Firmly Negative On Profit Taking, Disappointing Data

Stocks are seeing notable weakness in mid-day trading on Thursday, pulling back further off their recent highs following the substantial downward move seen in the previous session. Nonetheless, selling pressure has waned from earlier in the session.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, stuck firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 57.06 points or 0.4 percent at 13,870.48, the Nasdaq is down 27.65 points or 0.9 percent at 3,136.76 and the S&P 500 is down 8.71 points or 0.6 percent at 1,503.24.

The weakness on Wall Street comes as traders continue to cash in on the recent strength in the markets, which lifted the major averages to multi-year closing highs on Tuesday.

Concerns about the outlook for monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve are also weighing on stocks along with disappointing reports on weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia manufacturing activity.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department released a report showing that initial jobless claims climbed to 362,000 in the week ended February 16th, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 342,000.

Economists had been expecting jobless claims to rise to 359,000 from the 341,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Separately, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its index of current activity fell to a negative 12.5 in February from a negative 5.8 in January, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in regional manufacturing activity.

The drop by the Philly Fed index came as a surprise to economists, who had been expecting the index to climb to a positive 1.1. With the unexpected decrease, the Philly Fed Index fell to its lowest level since hitting a negative 12.8 in June of 2012.

On the other hand, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that existing home sales saw a modest rebound in January.

NAR said existing home sales rose 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January after falling 1.2 percent to a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December.

Among individual stocks, Wal-Mart (WMT) is up by 3 percent after the retail giant reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings but noted that U.S. sales got off to a slow start in February due largely to a delay in tax refund checks.

Sector News

Oil service stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances in mid-day trading, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 2.1 percent. The index is pulling back further off the eleven-month closing high it set last Thursday.

The weakness among oil service stocks comes amid a sharp drop by the price of crude oil, with crude for April delivery plunging $2.12 to $93.10 a barrel.

Considerable weakness also remains visible among networking stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Ciena (CIEN) are posting notable losses.

Steel stocks have also come under pressure on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Steel Index down by 1.8 percent. Semiconductor, chemical, and brokerage stocks are also seeing significant weakness.

On the other hand, gold stocks are regaining ground after falling sharply in recent sessions. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is up by 2.3 percent, bouncing off its worst closing level in over three years.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region came under pressure on Thursday on the heels of the overnight weakness on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 1.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plummeted by 1.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing considerable strength after ending the previous session nearly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.9 basis points at 1.972 percent.