Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Lower; McDonald's Comparable Sales Fall 0.3%
Following the market opening Monday, the Dow traded down 0.40 percent to 16,386.83 while the NASDAQ tumbled 0.16 percent to 4,329.30. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.23 percent to 1,873.81.Leading and Lagging Sectors In trading on Monday, healthcare shares were relative leaders, up on the day by about 0.02 percent. Among the leading sector stocks, gains came from Idera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDRA), Galena Biopharma (NASDAQ: GALE), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN) and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PPHM). Basic materials sector was the leading decliner in the US market today. Among the sector stocks, Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) was down more than 4.6 percent, while Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (NYSE: SID) tumbled around 4.4 percent.Top Headline McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) reported a 0.3% drop in its global same-store sales in February. Analysts were expecting a 0.1% decline in global comparable sales. McDonald's US same-store sales fell 1.4% in February, versus analysts' expectations for a 0.6% drop. Comparable sales rose 0.6% in Europe, while sales tumbled 2.6% in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.Equities Trading UP Montage Technology Group (NASDAQ: MONT) shot up 19.52 percent to $20.51 after the company received a non-binding proposal from Shanghai Pudong Science and Technology to purchase the company at $21.50 per share. Shares of FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL) got a boost, shooting up 12.46 percent to $3.97 ahead of quarterly earnings after the closing bell. FuelCell Energy is estimated to post a Q1 loss at $0.04 per share on revenue of $43.44 million. Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) was also up, gaining 12.73 percent to $12.22 on announced merger with Irish rival Fyffes. Chiquita agreed to acquire Fyffes in an all-stock deal.Equities Trading DOWN Shares of Walter Energy (NYSE: WLT) were down 4.98 percent to $9.93 after the company commenced process to amend credit facility. Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) shares tumbled 4.18 percent to $17.87 after the company confirmed the receipt of director nominations by Casablanca Capital. Axiom initiated coverage on the stock with a Sell rating and a $10.00 price target. Perfect World Co (NASDAQ: PWRD) was down, falling 4.99 percent to $23.78 after the company reported its recent business developments. Perfect World is expected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.43 per share on revenue of $142.11 million.Commodities In commodity news, oil traded down 1.48 percent to $101.06, while gold traded up 0.02 percent to $1,338.50. Silver traded up 0.08 percent Monday to $20.95, while copper fell 1.27 percent to $3.04.Eurozone European shares were mixed today. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.15 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index climbed 0.55 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 0.44 percent and the French CAC 40 rose 0.61 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.06 percent. Economics The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is expected to speak today.