On The Fly: Top stock stories at midday

Stocks opened in positive territory and have drifted throughout the morning. The averages have moved in a narrow range, which is typical for the morning period leading up to an FOMC rate decision. The Fed is widely expected to announce a quarter point rate increase, but investors will be focused on the accompanying commentary for clarity as to whether the market can expect two or three additional increases during the reminder of the year. The decision is due out at 2:00 pm ET. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Producer Prices Index for May showed a headline month-over-month increase of 0.5%, versus the consensus call for an increase of 0.3%, while the core PPI was up 0.3%, while the consensus was for a monthly rise of 0.2%. COMPANY NEWS: Yesterday after the close, a federal judge approved AT&T's (T) purchase of Time Warner (TWX), without conditions, citing insufficient proof of consumer or competitive harm in what was widely considered a vertical merger. This has been read as improving the chances of other deals that have already been announced getting done, while also sparking speculation about what mega-mergers may be next. Within media, it has been reported by several outlets that Comcast (CMCSA) may formalize an offer topping Disney's (DIS) bid for Fox (FOXA) assets as soon as today... General Motors (GM) announced that CFO Chuck Stevens plans to retire after more than 40 years with the company. GM appointed Dhivya Suryadevara as its replacement CFO, effective Sept. 1, 2018. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Enphase Energy (ENPH), which surged 34% after it agreed to acquire SunPower's (SPWR) microinverter business. SunPower shares are up 2% after the news. Also higher was Pivotal Software (PVTL), which gained 26% after reporting quarterly results. Among the notable losers was TAL Education (TAL), which fell 10% after Muddy Waters issued a new short report on the stock. Carson Block's research firm claims the company has been "fraudulently overstating its profits since at least FY2016," despite the fact that it is a "real business." Also lower was H&R Block (HRB), which dropped 19% after reporting quarterly results and issuing FY19 guidance that missed expectations. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 14.06,or 0.06%, to 25,334.79, the Nasdaq was up 41.54, or 0.54%, to 7,745.34, and the S&P 500 was up 4.12, or 0.15%, to 2,790.97.

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