Equity markets opened slightly higher this morning but trailed off to negative territory in the late morning. By late afternoon, the NASDAQ composite and the S&P 500 were flirting with a positive result. Continuing talks between the Greek government and the country’s bondholders have not made any progress, and the imposition of an embargo on Iranian oil and other sanctions have been approved by the European Union. Some in Iran are making more threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, which has sent crude prices higher today. WTI crude is up 1.58% at $99.88/barrel and Brent crude is up 0.91% at $110.86/barrel. Gold has risen to $1,672.60/ounce, up 0.75% on the day.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 12 points to 12,708.82 (-0.09%), the NASDAQ fell more than 2 points (-0.09%) to 2,784.17, and the S&P 500 rose 0.05% or less than 1 point to 1,316.00.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS; Sirius XM Radion Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) cut to ‘equal weight at Morgan Stanely; Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a $730 target price at Argus; Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus; and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) cut to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan.
Earnings reports since markets closed on Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is up XX% at $XX; Twin Disc Inc. (NASDAQ: TWIN) is down -XX% at $XX; and PetsMed Express Inc. (NASDAQ: PETS) is up XX% at $XX. We also have a rundown of the 11 stocks included in the DJIA that will be reporting earnings this week.
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Minefinders Corp. Ltd. (AMEX: MFN) is up nearly 23% at $13.94. The Canadian silver miner is being acquired by Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ: PAAS) for CDN$1.5 billion.
Goodrich Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: GDP) is up more than 12% at $15.76. The natural gas producer is the biggest gainer among natural gas drillers following an announcement from Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) that it was reducing production this year.
Columbia Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRX) is down more than -54% at $0.72 after posting a new 52-week low of $0.64 earlier today. The drug company’s progesterone vaginal gel was not approved by a committee of the US FDA.
The Standard Register Co. (NYSE: SR) is down nearly -14% at $2.18, a new 52-week low. The printing and services company announced that it would reduce its workforce by 15% and take other measures in a restructuring of the company. Layoffs would affect about 390 workers.
Rimage Corp. (NASDAQ: RIMG) is down nearly -11% at $11.77. The digital publishing provider lowered its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Federal Reserve’s open market committee meeting starts tomorrow, with a press conference with Fed chairman Ben Bernancke following at 2:30 p.m. ET. President Barack Obama delivers his state of the union address at 9:00 P.M ET. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction
- 1:00 p.m. – 2-year Treasury note auction