The three major US stock indexes opened slightly lower this morning as markets waited patiently for an afternoon announcement from the FOMC. When the word finally came that Operation Twist would continue through the rest of 2012, the market was pretty well-prepared and equally underwhelmed(our coverage here). A larger-than-expected build in both crude oil and gasoline inventories kept fossil-fuel energy stocks down (our coverage here). The Fed also lowered its GDP growth estimate, raised its estimate of unemployment, and lowered its expectations for PCE inflation.
The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.28% at 81.609. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 586.31, with commodities prices mostly higher today on the declining dollar. WTI crude oil closed down -2.5% at $81.91/barrel. Brent crude trades down -3.23% at $92.67/barrel. Natural gas rose fell about -0.2% today to $2.54/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled down -0.5%, at $1,614.30/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 13 points to 12,824.31 (-0.10%), the NASDAQ rose less than 1 point (0.02%) to 2,930.45, and the S&P 500 fell -0.17% or about 3 points to 1,355.70.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) started as ‘outperform’ at Wells Fargo; Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) raised to ‘outperform’ at BMO; Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA) started as ‘buy’ at Janney; and Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a price target of $47 at Canaccord Genuity.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have been scarce, but here are some price changes for reporting companies as of the last half hour of trading today: Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) is down -2.5% at $32.07; Jabil Circuit Ltd. (NYSE: JBL) is up 6.2% at $20.62; Jinkosolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) is down -8.8% at $4.13 (more coverage here); and Le Gaga Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: GAGA) is down -6.6% at $4.10.
After markets close today we’re scheduled to get earnings from Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), and Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ: SONC). Before markets open tomorrow earnings are due from Carmax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) and ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG).
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following events (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 8:58 a.m. – Flash PMI manufacturing index
- 10:00 a.m. – Existing home sales
- 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey
- 10:00 a.m. – FHFA house price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Leading indicators
- 10:30 p.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply