U.S. indices are mixed midday on Thursday following the release of the latest weekly jobs claims report earlier today.
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. rose to 272,000 for the week ended Feb. 20, a 10,000-claim increase from the previous week. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting claims of just 270,000.
Oil prices aren't helping matters as West Texas crude futures contracts for April delivery are down $0.82 to $31.33 per barrel while industry benchmark Brent crude was down $0.59 to $33.82 per barrel.
SunEdison (SUNE) shares were up more than 30% on heavy volume midday after Vivint Solar (VSLR) shareholders approved the board's plan to be acquired by SunEdison in a $1.9 billion deal.
Pfizer (PFE) shares rose 1.5% after the company won FDA approval for its once-daily treatment for severe rheumatoid arthritis Xeljanz XR.
Rouse Properties (RSE) shares were rising 3% after the shopping mall owner said today that it agreed to Brookfield Asset Management's (BAM) raised buyout offer valued at $2.8 billion, including debt.
On the downside of the market, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) shares are dropping after analysts at Fitch Ratings downgraded the company's debt to B-minus from B. "The downgrade reflects the heightened liquidity risk given the prospect for a lower and longer price recovery profile. The current rating also reflects the potential for low hydrocarbon prices to negatively impact the company's plans to raise liquidity through asset sales and could also have an unfavorable impact on the next round of borrowing-base redeterminations," analysts said.
Frontier Communications (FTR) shares are declining despite the company topping analysts' quarterly expectations and receiving an upgraded outlook from analysts' at Deutsche Bank.
Oil stocks Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Whiting Petroleum (WLL) and Vale S.A. (VALE) are all declining, following oil's drop in trading.
Earnings season continues today, with AB-InBev (BUD) falling midday as declining sales of Bud Light contributed to the company's miss of analysts' top- and bottom-line expectations. The beer company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.56 per share vs. analysts $1.61 expectations. Revenue for the period dropped 10% from the previous year, to $10.72 billion.
Best Buy (BBY) was also falling midday after providing weak 2016 guidance, though the company did top analysts' fourth-quarter expectations.