Mid-day market update: General Finance climbs following acquisition news; PHX Minerals shares drop

Midway through trading Friday, the Dow traded up 0.30% to 34,137.46 while the NASDAQ rose 0.03% to 14,042.34. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.23% to 4,180.05.

The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, reporting a total of 31,496,430 cases with around 565,290 deaths. India confirmed a total of at least 14,291,910 cases and 174,300 deaths, while Brazil reported over 13,746,680 COVID-19 cases with 365,440 deaths. In total, there were at least 139,214,610 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with more than 2,988,960 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Materials shares rose 0.9% on Friday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Resolute Forest Products Inc. RFP 15.47%, up 15%, and PPG Industries, Inc. PPG 9.54%, up 9%.

In trading on Friday, energy shares fell 0.6%.

Top Headline

Morgan Stanley MS 2.97% reported stronger-than-expected results for its first quarter.

Morgan Stanley reported quarterly earnings of $2.22 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.70 per share. The company’s quarterly sales came in at $15.70 billion, versus expectations of $14.09 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Mer Telemanagement Solutions Ltd. MTSL 39.02% shares shot up 39% to $3.999 after the company announced it signed a definitive merger agreement with SharpLink.

Shares of General Finance Corporation GFN 55.96% got a boost, shooting 56% to $18.98 after United Rental said it would acquire the company for $19 per share in cash.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. NASDAQRXRX shares were also up, gaining 71% to $30.76 after the company priced its IPO at $18 per share.

Check out these big movers of the day

Equities Trading DOWN

Sequential Brands Group, Inc. SQBG 34.01% shares tumbled 34% to $18.16 after the company reported a wider Q4 loss.

Shares of Wilhelmina International, Inc. WHLM 27.09% were down 29% to $7.72 after climbing around 30% on Thursday. The company's 13D filing recently showed that Modell's Sporting Goods had reported a stake of 18.4% in the company.

PHX Minerals Inc. PHX 23.95% was down, falling 24% to $2.00 after the company priced an underwritten public offering of 5,500,000 shares at $2.00 per share.


In commodity news, oil traded down 0.5% to $63.16, while gold traded up 0.6% to $1,778.10.

Silver traded up 0.6% Friday to $26.11 while copper fell 1.4% to $4.1615.

Euro zone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.9%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.49% and the German DAX 30 gained 1.34%. Meanwhile, the French CAC 40 rose 0.85% London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.52% and Italy’s FTSE MIB gained 0.88%.

The consumer price inflation rate in the Eurozone was confirmed at 1.3% year-over-year in March, while trade surplus shrank to EUR 17.7 billion in February from EUR 23.4 billion in the year-ago month. Italy's trade surplus narrowed to EUR 4.75 billion for February from EUR 5.98 billion.


US housing starts jumped 19.4% to an annualized rate of 1.739 million in March, while building permits increased 2.7% to an annual rate of 1.766 million.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 86.5 in April from previous reading of 84.9.

The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week will be released at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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