The stock market today is off to a sluggish start as investors brace for a week of important economic indicators.
Pending homes sales kicked off a week of tell-tale economic data this morning, while earnings season continues with Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Nasdaq: WYNN) reporting disappointing Q2 results.
Sales contracts on homes fell 0.4% from May, when mortgage rates began to significantly rise, but sales contracts are still up 10.9% from June 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR forecasts 5.05 million existing home sales and 968,000 housing starts for 2013.
But the overall stock market today is weighed. In morning trade, the Dow is down 0.32% at 15,513 points; Nasdaq is down 0.25% at 3,603 points, and the S&P 500 is down 0.39% at 1,685.
In the week ahead, investors are bracing for Wednesday's report on gross domestic product (GDP) as well as the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting minutes from its latest meeting, making Wednesday perhaps the more important day of this trading week in terms of stock-impacting news.
The Stock Market Today: Mergers & Acquisitions
The stock market today also includes several major mergers, which are having sector-wide influence.
First, Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Hudson's Bay Company. Hudson's Bay will acquire Saks for $16.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at about $2.9 billion, including debt. SAKS shares are up 4% at $15.86 in morning trade.
And ad giants Onmicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) and Publicis have announced what they say will be a "merger of equals" that will make the newly formed company the largest advertising agency in the world. This deal is expected to close in Q4 and aims to give the new company, Publicis Omnicom Group stronger pricing leverage. Ad companies like Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (NYSE: IPG) in the stock market today are rallying; IPG is up 6% at new 52-week highs.
Finally, Perrigo Co. (NYSE: PRGO) and Elan Corp. (NYSE ADR: ELN) have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Elan, an Irish firm, will be acquired by Perrigo's new holding company incorporated in Ireland in a cash and stock transaction is valued at about $8.6 billion. PRGO is down 8% at $123.60, while ELN is up 3% at $15.35, easing off earlier higher gains in pre-market.
Solar stocks, which have been trading very volatilely the past month as investors speculated on how the EU would tax solar panel imports, will likely simmer down this week. Solar stocks are up in the stock market today after the European Commission and Chinese solar makers have agreed that China will not export solar panels for less than $0.74 per watt, a move designed to keep European solar panel makers competitive.
Solar stocks getting a boost: Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE ADR: TSL), +7%; JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: JASO), +6%; Yingli Green Energy (NYSE ADR: YGE), +11%; Canadian Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: CSIQ), +2%; ReneSola Ltd. (NYSE ADR: SOL), +12.8%.
In energy news in the stock market today, crude oil futures are up toward $105 per barrel in a reverse from recent declines. Light, sweet crude oil for September delivery is up $0.16 at $104.86 per barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil is up $0.01 at $3.02 a gallon while natural gas is down $0.12 at $3.44 per million British thermal units.
So far in the stock market today, several major companies have reported earnings reports and many more are in the pipeline for this week.
Today, Wynn Resorts fell 1.5% pre-bell as it reports Q2 revenue of $1.33 billion, about in line with the analyst consensus on Capital IQ. Adjusted EPS was $1.51, versus the Street view of $1.57 per share.