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Mid-Day Market Update: Gold Rises 1%; Astrotech Shares Plummet

Midway through trading, the Dow traded down 0.08% to 33,420.24 while the NASDAQ rose 0.71% to 13,786.47. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.22% to 4,089.10.

The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, reporting a total of 30,923,840 cases with around 559,110 deaths. Brazil reported over 13,193,200 COVID-19 cases with 340,770 deaths, while India confirmed a total of at least 12,928,570 cases and 166,860 deaths. In total, there were at least 133,279,950 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with more than 2,891,010 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Information technology shares rose 1% on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included American Virtual Cloud Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVCT), up 23%, and PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE: PAR), up 24%.

In trading on Thursday, energy shares fell 1.9%.

Top Headline

Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter.

Conagra reported quarterly earnings of $0.59 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $0.58 per share. The company’s quarterly sales came in at $2.77 billion, versus expectations of $2.72 billion.

Conagra Brands said it sees Q4 EPS of $0.49-$0.55, versus analysts’ estimates of $0.51 per share.

Equities Trading UP

Century Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNBKA) shares shot up 25% to $114.25. Eastern Bankshares, Inc. and Century Bancorp, announced they have entered into a definitive all-cash merger agreement.

Shares of ORBCOMM Inc. (NASDAQ: ORBC) got a boost, shooting 51% to $11.45. GI Partners has agreed to acquire Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider ORBCOMM for $1.1 billion, including net debt.

Rice Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: RICE) shares were also up, gaining 37% to $13.80 after the company announced a merger agreement to combine Aria Energy and Archaea Energy into the industry-leading renewable natural gas platform.

Check out these big movers of the day

Equities Trading DOWN

United Time Technology Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: UTME) shares tumbled 36% to $52.28 after jumping 110% on Wednesday. The company recently priced its IPO at $4 per share.

Shares of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC) were down 31% to $1.5350 after the company reported a $10 million direct offering of its common stock.

Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG) was down, falling 8% to $36.15 after the company reported downbeat Q4 sales and issued weak FY22 earnings forecast.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.6% to $59.39, while gold traded up 1% to $1,758.30.

Silver traded up 1.4% Thursday to $25.595 while copper rose 0.7% to $4.0830.

Euro zone

European shares were mixed today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 rose 0.35%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.01% and the German DAX 30 slipped 0.09%. Meanwhile, the French CAC 40 rose 0.38%, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.36% and Italy’s FTSE MIB fell 0.74%.

The IHS Markit Eurozone construction PMI rose to 50.1 in March from 45 in February. Germany construction PMI climbed to 47.5 in March from 41 in February, while factory orders rose 1.2% in February.

French construction PMI surged to 49.7 from 44, while current account deficit widened to EUR 2.6 billion in February from a revised EUR 2 billion gap in the prior month. French trade deficit increased to EUR 5.25 billion in February from a revised EUR 4.2 billion gap in January.

Economics

US initial jobless claims climbed to 744,000 in the April 3rd week, from a revised reading of 728,000 last week.

US natural-gas supplies gained 20 billion cubic feet last week, the Energy Information Administration said.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is set to speak at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Check out the full economic calendar here

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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