July 08--TODAY'S INDEXES -- Dow industrials 16,906.62 -- 117.59
S&P 500 1963.75 -- 13.90
Nasdaq 4391.46 -- 60.07
TECH SELLOFF: The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4 percent, about twice as much as the broader market indexes. Internet stocks had been pushing the Nasdaq higher in recent weeks, and they led the decline today: Twitter fell 7 percent, Pandora Media 7 percent, Salesforce.com 4 percent and Facebook 4 percent.
INVERSION CANDIDATE: Tax-inversion mergers, which match a U.S. company's cash with a European company's lower tax rate, are all the rage, and one analyst thinks St. Louis'Sigma-Aldrich is a candidate to join in the buying. According to a Bloomberg report, Bryan Garnier & Co. is listing Sigma-Aldrich as a potential buyer for Dutch-based Qiagen, a diagnostics company that's currently valued at $5.7 billion. Both companies' shares were quiet today: Qiagen fell 0.5 percent and Sigma-Aldrich rose 0.2 percent.
FIRST IN LINE: Alcoa kicked off the second-quarter earnings season on a positive note. After the market closed, it reported a profit of 12 cents a share, which topped analysts' estimates. The results were helped by higher aluminum prices.
LOCAL INDEX: The Bloomberg St. Louis Index lost 0.9 percent, a bit more than the broader market.
STL STOCKS GAINERS LOSERS
Viasystems 4.0% Reliv International -8.2%
First Clover Leaf 3.2% Stereotaxis -5.8%
Amdocs 0.7% Arch Coal -4.4%
LOCAL GAINER: First Clover Leaf Financial closed higher after the Edwardsville bank announced a new checking-account that promises not to impose overdraft fees. The account costs $14.95 a month.
ANALYST'S INSIGHTS: Sean Hannan of Needham & Co. likes a contract that Esco Technologies landed with National Grid Saudi Arabia. It's a sign, he writes, that Esco "is starting to make some tangible traction on its international growth goals." Hannan has a "hold" rating on Esco, which sells communications systems for utility companies.
THE DAY AHEAD: After the Federal Reserve releases minutes from last month's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, analysts will parse the words for clues about the timing of an interest-rate increase.
David Nicklaus is business columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Subscribe to his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter @dnickbiz.
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