Stocks opened lower this morning and stayed lower for nearly the entire first half of the day, with buyers most likely waiting to see what would happen with Italian bond rates. The bonds ended the day at a yield slightly above 7%, which was probably not as bad as expected. A solid, if modest, gain took hold in the early afternoon as the October retail sales report turned in a better-than-expected rise. Producer prices were lower, though core inflation was flat, and the Empire State manufacturing index was higher. Crude oil is up nearly 1.5%, at $99.50/barrel, and the euro has given up an early gain against the dollar.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 17 points to 12,096.39 (0.14%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 29 points (1.09%) to 2,686.20, and the S&P 500 rose 0.48% or more than 6 points to 1,257.80.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: A) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/ML. Other action included Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) reiterated at ‘neutral’ by Argus; Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) target raised from $25 to $28 at Argus; Alimera Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: ALIM) cut to ‘neutral’ with a $2 target at Credit Suisse.
Here are today’s big post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is down about -2.25%, at $57.57; Beazer USA Homes Inc. (NYSE: BZH) is down about -0.5%, at $2.21; Covidien plc (NYSE: COV) is up nearly 2.5%, at $48.44; Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is up nearly 5.5%, at $41.73; TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TJX) is up about 1% at $61.16; and Saks, Inc. (NYSE: SKS) is up 2.5%, at $10.46. For a more detailed look at today’s retail earnings, see our earlier story.
Several other standouts from today are as follows…
Moneygram International, Inc. (NYSE: MGI) is up about 616%, at $18.68. The company announced a 1-for-8 reverse stock split this morning, shrinking the number of outstanding shares from 1.3 billion to 162.5 million. The stock closed yesterday at $2.61, and posted a new 52-week high this morning of $19.61.
Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) is up nearly 30%, at $1.31. There is no direct news from the company, but the price jump is very likely related to an announcement yesterday from Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) that it was building a new plant in Canada that would double its annual production of ethanol.
Netlist, Inc. (NASDAQ: NLST) is up more than 24%, at $2.92. The company has signed deals with both IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) under which Netlist’s cloud memory product undergo qualification testing for use with the two companies’ servers.
FriendFinder Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFN) is down more than -20%, at $1.50, after posting a new 52-week low of $1.42. The company has been notified of a class-action lawsuit charging that it made false statements related the number of shares of stock subject to the 180-day lock-up period following the company’s IPO last May.
Meritor, Inc. (NYSE: MTOR) is down more than -17%, at $6.58. The company reported solid earnings today, but cut next year’s revenue guidance by about 10%.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Richmond Federal Reserve Bank president Jeffrey Lacker and Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren are giving speeches tomorrow. Here’s a list of other noteworthy events (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage purchase applications
- 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
- 9:15 a.m. – Federal Reserve industrial production index
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report