US stocks were mixed in midday trading Wednesday, with Intel (INTC) soaring following a chief executive change, while the broader markets focused on the proceeding to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average nudged down 25.30 points, or 0.08%, to 31,043.39. The S&P 500 added 4.74 points, or 0.12% to 3,805.93 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 58.99 points, or 0.45%, to 13,131.42.
All three indexes are close to record levels struck last week on bets for an economic recovery with more fiscal stimulus and a smooth roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.
The US House of Representatives is set to vote on Trump's second impeachment later Wednesday for stoking last week's deadly riot on Capitol Hill, with a small but significant number of Republican lawmakers expected to join the impeachment effort.
Meanwhile, Intel was up more than 7% after reports that Chief Executive Bob Swan will step down with VMware's (VMW) CEO Pat Gelsinger replacing him from mid-February, triggering a slew of price target upgrades. VMmare shed more than 7% following Gelsinger move, and appointed Chief Financial Officer Zane Rowe as interim CEO.
On the energy front, oil prices were lower, with US West Texas Intermediate easing 0.3% to $53.06 per barrel and Brent crude down 0.6% to $56.25 after industry data showed a weekly draw in US crude stockpiles. Natural gas price was up 1.9% to $2.80 per 1 million BTU. Oil majors were mixed, with Exxon Mobil (XOM) rising following an upgrade from JPMorgan to overweight while ConocoPhillips (COP) and Chevron (CVX) were lower.
Among the gainers, Live Ventures (LIVE) jumped 86% after reporting its fiscal 2020 results, with operating profit soaring 527% from a year ago. Synlogic (SYBX) rose 18% after brokerage Chardan doubled its price target to $10. Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) added 35% after striking a deal to sell its Inbrija manufacturing operations for $80 million in cash.
On the losing side, Provention Bio (PRVB) lost 12% on sale of six million common shares. Marathon Patent Group (MARA) fell 14% after the company struck a deal to sell $250 million shares in a direct offering. Denmark's Forward Pharma (FWP) shed 13% after an appeal hearing for its EP2801355 patent has been rescheduled to Sept. 6 due to COVID-19.
In the precious metals markets, gold rose 0.8%% to $1,859.20 an ounce, and Silver added 0.5% to $25.56 an ounce. Copper was 0.7% higher to $363.0 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund dipped 0.2% to $35.84 while the United States Natural Gas Fund gained 1.1% to $10.03. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was a fraction lower to $35.97 while SPDR Gold Shares was a touch higher to $174.18. The iShares Silver Trust fell 0.3% to $23.65.