The China office building of the Internet company Microsoft can be seen on December 8, 2020 in Shanghai, China.
Cost photo | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
Check out the companies that are making the headlines in midday trading.
Tech Stocks – Tech stocks fell as the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield hit 1.567% high on Tuesday. Twitter lost 4.4%, Microsoft and Google lost more than 3%, and Salesforce slipped 2.6%. Rising bond yields hurt growth stocks like technology stocks because they lower the relative value of future earnings. Tech-heavy Nasdaq is on its 10th down day in the last 15 sessions.
Applied Materials – Semiconductor stocks fell 6.9% after New Street downgraded the stock from Buy to neutral. The Wall Street firm cited the sky-high rating of Applied Material for the downgrade. Other semi-finished products also fell, with Advanced Micro Devices dropping more than 6% and Micron Technology, which will post profits after the bell, dropping more than 2%.
BioNTech, Moderna – Vaccine makers BioNTech and Moderna fell 9.9% and 6% respectively after French drug maker Sanofi announced positive results from a study on its MRNA-based Covid vaccine. Sanofi said it would stop further development since the market is already so heavily dominated by Pfizer and Moderna. Instead, it will focus on using MRNA technology for other vaccines and developing a protein-based Covid vaccine with GlaxoSmithKline.
Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo stocks fell 3.4% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock from overweight to equal weight citing ongoing regulatory challenges. The call comes after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week the central bank would keep its investment limit of $ 1.95 trillion in Wells Fargo "until the company has fully resolved its problems." Morgan Stanley predicts that overcoming these regulatory issues will increase Wells Fargo's spending.
Huntsman Corp. The chemical company's stock rose over 6% after activist hedge fund Starboard Value acquired 8.4% of the company's shares, according to the Wall Street Journal. Starboard said the stocks are undervalued and will press for change to improve stock performance, the Journal reported.
United Natural Foods – The grocer rose more than 23% after the company reported quarterly earnings of $ 1.18 per share, beating consensus estimate of 80 cents per share. Sales were below consensus estimates. The company saw strong pandemic-driven demand from customers year-over-year, it reported.
Thor Industries – The automaker's stock rose 7.9% after the company reported quarterly earnings of $ 4.12 per share, beating analysts' estimate of $ 2.92 per share. Sales also exceeded Wall Street forecasts. Quoting the continued demand for RVs, Thor said the backlog was at a record high.
FactSet – The financial data and software company's stocks rose 3.8% after surpassing the top and bottom lines of quarterly results. FactSet reported earnings per share of $ 2.88 on sales of nearly $ 412 million. According to Refinitiv, Wall Street expected profits of $ 2.72 on sales of $ 405 million.
Energy stocks – Energy stocks largely continued their rally as the international oil benchmark Brent crude and US benchmark crude futures West Texas Intermediate climbed on Tuesday before retreating. Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex both gained more than 1% at noon but closed in the red as the wider sell-off hit stocks across all sectors. Halliburton rose more than 1%.
– CNBC's Maggie Fitzgerald, Yun Li and Hannah Miao contributed to the coverage
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