12:20pm (EST)

“Live from the New York Stock Exchange…”   

It’s rare we divert your attention away from the market but today we wanted to take the time to remember one of the truly best talking heads out there.  Mark Haines, CNBC anchorman, has passed away at age 65.

We grew up watching Mark over the years and he was always one of the best reporters in the business.  For 20 years we have shared our mornings with him and we appreciated his tough Q&A sessions with his guests.  Mark would tell it like it is and he wouldn’t cut you slack if he thought you were waffling.

We will miss his opening quote in the mornings and things won’t be the same without him announcing the opening bell.  He was iconic and was with CNBC since day 1. 

We will miss him…

After a slow start, the bulls have managed to push the market higher despite weaker-than-expected manufacturing data.  Durable goods orders tumbled 3.6% during April versus an expected decline of 2%.  The steep decline is partly due to the fact that orders for the prior month were revised upward to reflect a 4.4% increase.

Turning to earnings, Polo Ralph Lauren (RL, $119.89, down $9.50) is down over 7% after missing Wall Street’s expectations.  The company reported a profit of $73 million, or $0.74 a share, versus $114 million, or $1.13 a share, in the year ago period.  Revenue came in at $1.38 billion.

Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.79 a share on revenue of $1.41 billion.  High cotton, lower gross margins, and higher inventory weighed on the quarter.

In Biotech news, Vivus (VVUS, $8.80, up $0.41) is up 5% after announcing its good wood drug, Avanafil, met its goals in a Phase 3 study for erectile dysfunction with no serious adverse effects.  The company expects to file for marketing approval this quarter.

We have mentioned the company’s pipeline of drugs and their crown jewel is their diet drug Qnexa.  Avanafil could bring in some significant revenue but Qnexa is also being evaluated for other cures and will be their bread-and-butter drug if approved.

We will continue to monitor the developments for Vivus but we would suggest buying the stock in the single-digits before it’s too late.  If Qnexa does gain approval, shares won’t be this cheap a year from now.  Vivus is a current trade for both our Daily newsletter and Weekly Wrap.

As we head to press, the Dow is up 37 points to 12,392 while the S&P 500 is higher by 4 points to 1,320.  The Nasdaq is showing a 16 point pop and is at 2,762.

We will be back in the morning with our next update.       

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