Mid-Day Report

Despite a drop in jobless claims, the markets traded in negative territory with the Dow dropping 46 points to 11,983. Nasdaq fell 8 points to 2421.

On the upside

In a deal valued at approximately $1.6 billion, investment firm The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) will take Apria Healthcare Group (NYSE: AHG) private.

Shares of PetroChina (NYSE: PTR) and China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE: SNP) soared after China announced plans to raise the price of retail gasoline and diesel prices by 18%.

Friedman Billings cited Silicon Laboratories' (Nasdaq: SLAB) low valuation and upbeat business outlook for upgrading the chipmaker.

On the downside

Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes cut his price target for XM Satellite Radio Holdings (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) saying that MP3 players and other technologies threaten both companies.

Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) blamed weak foot traffic for a wider than expected first quarter loss.

Capital Source (NYSE: CSE) announced plans to raise approximately $440 million through an offering of nearly 30 million shares of common stock.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on both the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 4 points to 734.

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