The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower this morning on the absence of any big macroeconomic data in Asia or Europe. Tensions between China and Japan over a handful of islands in the East China Sea continue to spark large protests in China, and in Spain workers took to the streets to protest the government’s proposed austerity plans. In the U.S., the Empire State manufacturing index was down considerably lower than expected (more coverage here), further weighing on equities before the market opened this morning. Steel and refining stocks took some major hits today as JPMorgan downgrades hit the steelmakers and Citigroup pulled back on refiners (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.16% at 78.972. The GSCI commodity index is up 1% at 694.21, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil closed down 2.4% today, at $96.62 a barrel on rumors of a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 3.3% at $112.80 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.3% today to $2.876 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,770.60 an ounce, down 0.1% for the day.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 39 points to 13,554.57 (-0.29%), the NASDAQ fell more than 5 points (-0.17%) to 3,178.67, and the S&P 500 fell -0.31% or nearly 5 points to 1,461.17.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) started as ‘underperform’ at Macquarie (more coverage here); Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus; and United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) cut to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan.
After markets close today and before they open in the morning we are scheduled to hear from Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) and FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX). We also have a roundup of other important earnings reports due out this week.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Sears Hometown and Outlet Store rights offering (NASDAQ: SHOSR) is up 12% at $2.61. The rights to purchase IPO shares next month have gained nearly 50% since offered for sale last Tuesday.
Iris International Inc. (NASDAQ: IRIS) is up 45.5% at $19.52. Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR) said it would buy the medical firm for $355 million, or $19.50 a share. Before today’s jump, the 52-week high was $13.92.
Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: THLD) is down 18.4% at $7.12. The company reported mixed results following a clinical trial for its pancreatic cancer treatment.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: JAZZ) is up 14.1% at $54.90 after posting a new all-time high of $56.13 earlier today. The drug maker got a favorable court ruling today on its narcolepsy drug.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, New York Fed President William Dudley, and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker are giving speeches. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – U.S. current account
- 9:00 a.m. – Treasury International Capital (TIC) data
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions