Fly Intel: Wall Street's top stories at midday
Stocks have slid this morning as investor focus turned to Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) executives testifying before lawmakers about their platforms' impact on elections and social media's role in society. With two of the Nasdaq's leaders under government scrutiny, the index sold off more than 1%. The testimony served as a temporary distraction from trade tensions while the U.S. and Canada have resumed meeting to try and hammer out a new NAFTA deal. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit widened 9.5% to $50.1B in July, as exports declined 1.0% and imports rose 0.9%. In Europe, the final Eurozone services PMI for August was inline with the flash reading at 54.4. In Asia, Japan's services PMI for August ticked up to 51.5 from 51.3 in July. China's Caixin services PMI fell short of expectations with a reading of 51.5. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Twitter and Facebook have come under pressure as Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg testify today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is assessing how well social media companies are confronting foreign influence on their platforms. In her opening remarks, Sandberg reiterated that Facebook was too slow to react in 2016 when the platform was used for election interference by Russian accounts. Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Dorsey has tweeted that he is not "proud" of the way his platform has been used to spread propaganda and the way "bad faith actors" were able to "game" the system. Meanwhile, the committee purposely set up an unoccupied seat for Alphabet (GOOG; GOOGL) as they wanted either CEO Larry Page or Google chief executive Sundar Pichai to testify, with Senator Richard Burr stating that he was "disappointed Google decided against sending the right senior level executive"... Compounding the weakness in tech is the 7% post-earnings pullback in shares of Workday (WDAY), one of the sector's high-fliers. Several Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on the stock following the company's "strong" Q2 results, but some of them said Workday's current trading multiples appear to already reflect expectations for a strong finish to FY19. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was GameStop (GME), which jumped 12.5% after Dealreporter said that the company is working with Perella Weinberg on a formal auction to explore a sale. Also higher was Vera Bradley (VRA), which gained 15% after reporting quarterly results. Among the notable losers was Sangamo (SGMO), which fell 20% after it reported data from Cohort 2 of the Phase 1/2 CHAMPIONS Study evaluating SB-913. Also lower were RH (RH), which fell 10% after reporting quarterly results. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 16.04, or 0.06%, to 25,968.52, the Nasdaq was down 79.70, or 0.99%, to 8,011.54, and the S&P 500 was down 8.99, or 0.31%, to 2,887.73.