Closing just a few percentage points below its all-time highs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been poised to break 14,000 -- but with this morning's GDP estimates release, investors may have to wait a bit longer to see it.
Forecasters were expecting the GDP numbers to reflect a 1.1% increase for the fourth quarter of 2012, so when the estimated contraction of 0.1% was reported, most were concerned. But the numbers may not be as bad as they appear, giving investors some hope that the impact of today's release will be short-lived.
Even though the economic data may not have been positive, there are still a few shining stars in market action today. At the top of the pack sits Freescale Semiconductors (UNKNOWN:FSL.DL), which released better-than-expected earnings yesterday -- bumping the stock 20.5%. The chip producer reported both fourth-quarter revenue and first-quarter revenue estimates above analyst forecasts. And though the company still reported a $0.14 per share loss for the Q4 2012, analysts had forecast $0.18 per share.
Next up is Copano Energy (UNKNOWN:CPNO.DL), which is set to be acquired by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (UNKNOWN:KMP.DL) in an all-stock deal announced late yesterday. The deal says that KMP will pay 0.4563 of its own shares for each share of Copano. This valuation puts each share of Copano at $40.91, which is still a 7% premium from the stock's current price of $38.22, up 18.8% from yesterday.
Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) had a huge win yesterday, when the FDA approved its newest gene-silencing drug, Kynamro. The drug treats a rare, inherited disorder that causes extremely high cholesterol levels by effectively shutting down the gene's ability to send messages that propagate the disorder. This is the first drug for Isis to reach the market, and could prove to be the first commercial success for gene-silencing (or antisense) technology.
Last up is Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), which is up big after CEO and Founder Aubrey McClendon announced he will be leaving the company in April. Energy investors would be hard-pressed to find another company trading at a deeper discount than Chesapeake Energy. Its share price depreciated after negative news surfaced concerning the company's management and spiraling debt picture. While these issues still persist, giant steps have been taken to help mitigate the problems -- and the news of McClendon's departure is sure to help the company further.
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