The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had fallen more than 36 points as of 11:35 a.m. EDT. AT&T (NYSE:T) was one of the best-performing Dow Jones components, while tech stocks BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) and Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) posted notable moves to the upside.
Philly Fed crushes expectations
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank manufacturing reading for June came in at 17.8, better than the 14 that economists had anticipated.
The index measures the strength of the economy in the Philadelphia area. A better than expected reading is obviously a good sign for the economy, and by extension the stock market, but its importance is limited as it measures only a single region.
AT&T gets a new phone
Shares of AT&T rose over 0.2% early on Thursday. AT&T is the only wireless carrier that will offer Amazon's Fire Phone when it goes on sale next month.
The handset is just as expensive as its competition, unusual for Amazon, but offers a number of features no other smartphones have, including a 3D-like effect that Amazon callings dynamic perspective. Buyers also get a free one-year subscription to Amazon Prime.
If the Fire Phone succeeds, it could draw new subscribers to AT&T. Still, the smartphone market is highly competitive, and the Fire Phone may attract few customers.
BlackBerry beats earnings expectations
Canadian handset maker BlackBerry was up nearly 11% after posting better than expected earnings on Thursday. BlackBerry lost $0.11 per share, but analysts had projected a loss of $0.26 per share. Revenue of $966 million was slightly better than estimates.
BlackBerry's results have largely been the product of cost-cutting. CEO John Chen believes the company's handset business should be operating near breakeven by the end of fiscal 2015. That, combined with BlackBerry's enterprise and cloud services, could revive the struggling business. There's also continued speculation that the company could be acquired by a larger mobile player, or a company looking to break into the industry.
Red Hat turns in a solid quarter
Red Hat shares rose more than 3% in the wake of a solid quarterly report. Earnings of $0.34 per share was slightly better than the $0.33 per share estimate; revenue of $424 million was likewise a bit more than the $414 million consensus analyst projection.
Red Hat's solid earnings were a byproduct of corporate demand for the open source software specialist. Red Hat boasted that it now counts 94% of the Fortune 500 among its customer base. Red Hat noted that it closed a record number of million-dollar deals last quarter, as enterprise demand for its information technology cloud services remains high.