Today’s issue of the “Closing Bell” is out early as we join many of you in an early start to the holiday weekend. Data in today’s report was compiled between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. ET.
The three major U.S. stock indexes opened higher this morning and were trending lower on stagnant unemployment reports and slightly higher inflation from Europe (our coverage here). The Chicago Fed PMI index also came in a bit lower than expected although it still indicates a modest expansion in the economy (our coverage here). Fed chairman Bernanke’s long-awaited remarks from Jackson Hole did not promise an expected new round of easing and that sent markets down to their lowest point of the day (our coverage here). Then a rumor surfaced that the ECB is still considering a yield band target as part of a bond buying program, and stocks ticked up to their highest point of the day before giving a little of the gain back just after noon.
The U.S. dollar index is lower today, now down 0.51% at 81.277. The GSCI commodity index is down fractionally today at 666.96, with commodities prices mostly higher and corn falling below $8.00/bushel again. WTI crude oil is trading up 1.7% today, at $96.24/barrel. Brent crude trades higher at $114.32/barrel. Natural gas is up 1.24% today to $2.782/thousand cubic feet. Gold is trading at $1,682.80/ounce, up 1.6% so far today.
At about 2:00 p.m. today, the DJIA is up more than 77 points to 13,077.77 (0.59%), the NASDAQ has risen more than 14 points (0.47%) to 3,062.98, and the S&P 500 is up 0.44% or about 6 points to 1,405.60.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) raised to ‘outperform’ with a target price of $16 at Oppenheimer; Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE: SE) cut to ‘equal weight’ with a target price of $30 at Barclays Capital; Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) started as ‘outperform’ at Wells Fargo; and ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) started as ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Some companies that reported earnings since markets closed last night and have recent share price changes today include Omnivision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI) are up 5.1% at $16.72; SAIC Inc. (NYSE: SAI) is up 4.3% at $12.32; Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is up 1.3% at $0.91; and Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) is down 9.8% at $29.05.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is down 4.9% at $18.16 after hitting a new post-IPO low of $18.08 earlier today. The social network company’s stock was downgraded today on concerns over remaining share lockup exits. More coverage here.
Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) is up 14.4% at $34.89. The enterprise software company beat earnings estimates and raised guidance for the current quarter.
Saba Software Inc. (NASDAQ: SABA) is up 12.3% at $8.94. The HR cloud-based software maker continues to be considered a takeover target following the acquisition of Kenexa Corp. (NYSE: KNXA) by International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM).
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. – Institute for Supply Management PMI
- 10:00 a.m. – Construction spending
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great holiday weekend!