March 2, 2012
The stock market had a tough time Friday trying to parse through conflicting news. Oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia denied reports of a pipeline explosion, while Spain announced a higher government budget deficit than had been expected. But the IPO of Yelp went well, as shares of the online opinion guide company soared 60% from its offering price. Just after 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were down just eight points at 12,972, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) dropped two points to 1,372.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) was the biggest loser in the Dow early, falling almost 1% despite having won a favorable ruling in a court case yesterday. A judge reversed a previous order that would have forced Travelers to pay more than $500 million toward asbestos claims against Johns-Manville, which was the largest maker of asbestos-containing products for nearly 50 years in the mid-20th century.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) was roughly unchanged. A report from Reuters highlighted the company's outperformance in the commodities industry, citing sales figures that came in well ahead of its fellow Wall Street trading firms. Commodity revenue made up more than 25% of what it calls "principal transactions," and continuing strength in the sector could help differentiate the bank from its competition.
Finally, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) was down slightly in early trading. The company is selling its infant nutrition business, with bids due on Monday. World consumer giant Nestle is expected to bid against Mead Johnson and Danone for the business.
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