After a great first day of the trading year, investors are taking a break today. Concerns in Europe are once again coming to the forefront, as the euro slipped back below the key $1.30 mark as Spain reportedly considered applying to the International Monetary Fund and the eurozone's bailout fund for loan financing. Meanwhile, European commercial lenders put a record high amount of overnight deposits into the European Central Bank.
Around 2:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up just 3 points to 12,400, while the S&P 500 was down 1 point at 1,276.
Among leading stocks, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) topped the Dow's advancers, gaining about 2%. News that Yahoo! named a new CEO may be having a positive effect on the stock, as Yahoo! has a search-engine partnership with Microsoft. The software giant also sued a major U.K. retailer over allegations of selling counterfeit system recovery CDs.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) was among losing stocks in the Dow. A court ruled that the drug company will have to pay more than $45 million in damages to two women who suffered from breast cancer after taking Prempro and related menopause drugs made by Pfizer and its operating units. The court upheld a jury verdict against Pfizer. In November, the company said it had reserved about $840 million to resolve cases related to the menopause drugs.
In other Dow news, AT&T (NYSE: T ) rose despite reaching a costly patent settlement with TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) . The terms of the settlement involve payments of at least $215 million between now and mid-2018, with the first payment of $51 million having come due yesterday. While a relatively small amount for the telecom giant, the settlement is substantial compared to TiVo's organic revenue, which is forecast for $48 million to $50 million in the fourth quarter.
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