U.S. Stocks Slip into Red Territory, Italy’s Exit Poll Results Weigh Down Sentiment

U.S. stocks pared initial gains to trade lower by midday trade on Monday as exit polls from Italy showed that Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition was leading in the Senate race, a development which could possibly reignite crisis in the euro zone since he has vehemently opposed Brussels over the austerity measures.
At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index lost 0.38%; the NASDAQ Composite Index fell 0.12% while the S&P 500 Index edged down 0.37%.

Among all key S&P 500 sectors, financial stocks lagged while utilities advanced.

All major benchmark indexes in Europe shed strong early gains to close modestly higher. The Pan European Stoxx 600 Index ended 0.06% lower; FTSE 100 gained 0.31% while DAX climbed 1.45% for the day. Market participants are closely watching the result of the general elections in Italy as Italy’s new government’s policies in the coming months could ruin EU’s efforts to abate financial crisis in the region.

Dynavax Technologies (NASDAQ: DVAX) shares plunged nearly 32.50% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that it couldn’t approve the company’s hepatitis B vaccine unless it shows further evidence of safety.

Shares of Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE: SWN) shares gained after analysts at Goldman Sachs lifted their rating on the stock to “conviction buy”, a highest rating, from “buy”.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) shares gained about 6.30% by midday trade  after the company repoted fourth-quarter results that edged past analysts’ estimates and provided better-than-expected guidance on the current fiscal.

In Japan, equities rallied after news emerged that Japanese government will back Haruhiko Kuroda, who is currently working as the President of the Asian Development Bank, as the next Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor. Kuroda is known to be a proponent of accommodative monetary policies and his appointment could result in some more aggressive economic stimulation measures.



Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. 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.