On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday

The Fly

Stocks on Wall Street were a bit lower at midday, though trading has been very calm compared to the volatility seen over the last few weeks. Investors may be staying sidelined in anticipation of tomorrow's CPI report for January given the recent anxiety around wages, inflation and treasury yields. ECONOMIC EVENTS: There weren't any major U.S. economic reports released. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of AmerisourceBergen (ABC) rose 8.5% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has made a takeover approach to the drug distributor, in which the pharmacy operator already holds a 26% stake. While the news gave a bump to Amerisource, several of its drug distribution services peers were not being lifted in sympathy. The weight on the sector was likely due to reports that said Amazon (AMZN) is seeking to expand its medical supplies business and that the e-commerce giant's joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and JPMorgan (JPM) is aiming to cut out drug distributors such as Amerisource, Cardinal Health (CAH) and McKesson (MCK)... PepsiCo (PEP) shares were fractionally higher at midday after the company reported better than expected fourth quarter sales and profits. The soda and snack food maker also increased its dividend by 15% and announced a new $15B share repurchase program. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Under Armour (UAA), whose Class A shares jumped 16% after the athletic apparel maker reported better than expected fourth quarter sales. Also higher following their earnings reports were Veeco (VECO) and Chegg (CHGG), which gained 18.5% and 17%, respectively. Among the noteworthy losers were Patterson Companies (PDCO) and Henry Schein (HSIC), which fell 7% and 8.5%, respectively, after the Federal Trade Commission said it is suing the dental products distributors for conspiring to refuse to provide discounts. Also lower following its earnings reports was Brighthouse Financial (BHF), which slid 7%. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 85.59, or 0.35%, to 24,515.68, the Nasdaq was down 1.40, or 0.02%, to 6,980.57, and the S&P 500 was down 4.58, or 0.17%, to 2,651.42.