Stocks Higher in Mid-Day Trading

U.S. stocks pared initial gains but still traded broadly higher by mid-day trade on Wednesday, drawing inspiration from solid economic data released in the previous session and rally in equity markets, across the Atlantic.

At last check, the DJIA gained 0.53%; the NASDAQ Composite Index added 0.59% while the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.53%.

Shares of Home Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: HOMB), rallied by midday trade. Home Bancshares said on Tuesday that it acquire a privately held bank, Liberty Bancshares, creating the second largest bank in the state of Arkansas. According to the agreement, Liberty Bancshares shareholder will get $250 million of common stock of Home Bancshares and $30 million in cash. The deal is likely to be closed by this year, subject to an approval from regulators and stakeholders.

Shares of First Cash Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ: FCFS) slumped more than 10% by mid-day trade. The Pawn store operator, late last evening provided lower-than-expected earnings guidance for the fiscal second quarter. The company also slashed its full-year revenue guidance.

Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SWHC) fell about 3% by mid-day trade—notwithstanding a strong guidance for the new fiscal year. The gun maker also reported more than twofold increase in fiscal fourth quarter profit, late on Tuesday.

The U.S. GDP in the first quarter grew at much slower rate than initially recorded. According to the Commerce Department’s final estimate, the first quarter GDP growth was 1.8% down from earlier reading of 2.4%. Economists had forecasted the reading to remain unchanged.

Home furnisher, Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) is scheduled to report quarterly results after the closing bell on Wednesday.

European equities rallied on Wednesday after the European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi hinted that the period of loose monetary policy would continue as the euro zone’s economy still faced downside risks.



Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.