U.S. stocks decline amid concern over Italian election results

‘Capital Spending’

“Continued earnings momentum and rising corporate confidence suggest improved capital spending this year,” said James Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Minneapolis- based Wells Capital Management, which oversees about $325 billion.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which measures the cost of using options as insurance against declines in the S&P 500, surged 19% to 16.80. The gauge is poised for the highest close this year after sliding to the lowest level since April 2007 on Feb. 19.

Chesapeake Energy declined $1.11 to $19.40. Sinopec, as China’s second-largest energy producer is known, will pay $1.02 billion in cash for a 50% interest in 850,000 acres Chesapeake controls in the Mississippi Lime formation, the companies announced in separate statements. The price equates to $2,400 an acre, less than the $7,000 to $8,000 at which Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake valued the asset in a July presentation.

ITT Educational tumbled $2.67 to $15.96. The Securities and Exchange Commission demanded documents relating to “actions and accounting” for the private loan programs, which helped students pay for education costs that weren’t covered by state, federal and other funding sources, Carmel, Indiana-based ITT said Feb. 22 in a filing.

First Product

Dynavax Technologies Corp. dropped 30% to $2.09. The drugmaker seeking to bring its first product to market fell after U.S. regulators rejected the company’s hepatitis B vaccine.

Affymax Inc. sank 85% to $2.46 after the drugmaker and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. voluntarily recalled an anemia treatment for kidney dialysis patients after reports of three fatal reactions.

Hertz gained 79 cents to $19.52. Adjusted earnings per share for 2013 will rise to $1.82 to $1.92, on sales of as much as $10.95 billion, the Park Ridge, New Jersey based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected $1.73 a share on revenue of $10.6 billion, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd., jumped 1.1% to $13.33. Sales of BlackBerry 10 devices are above the company’s “ambitious” expectations and production has been increased, chief executive officer Thorsten Heins told Frankfurt Allgemeine.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Inc. added 12% to $15.11 after Chairman Leonard Riggio said he will offer to buy the stores and website of the chain he founded more than 40 years ago as it struggles to navigate the rising popularity of digital books.

Zynga Inc. rose 10% to $3.52. The biggest maker of online social games surged on optimism that other U.S. states may follow Nevada in legalizing real-money gambling over the Internet.

Cummins Inc. increased 0.5% to $113.39 after the maker of diesel engines was added to the “Conviction Buy” list at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

CME Group Inc., the world’s largest futures exchange, has approached Deutsche Boerse AG to consider beginning talks on a merger, according to four people familiar with the situation.

A combination of Chicago-based CME and Deutsche Boerse would unite the biggest futures exchanges in the U.S. and European markets. CME shares have rallied 15% this year, giving it a market capitalization of $19.4 billion. Deutsche Boerse climbed 1% through Feb. 22, bringing its value to 9 billion euros ($11.9 billion).

The companies met again last month to debate whether to begin formal takeover talks and haven’t yet made a decision, the people said. No offer has been made, nor have terms been discussed, they said.

Bloomberg News

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