The three major U.S. stock indexes opened higher this morning following the Department of Labor’s report that headline unemployment in the U.S. fell to 7.8%, the lowest reading since January 2009 (more coverage here). In Europe, street demonstrations continued, the 10-year bond yield rose to just over 6%, and Catalonia has decided to go ahead with a secession vote. In Asia, Japanese carmakers are cutting production in their Chinese factories as tensions continue between the two countries. Third-quarter earnings begin rolling in next week, and based on recent changes in guidance expectations are restrained (more coverage here). Morning gains had mostly evaporated by late afternoon today and stocks finished mixed for the day.
The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.05% at 79.317. The GSCI commodity index is up 2.5% at 665.19, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil closed down 2% today, at $89.88 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.6% at $111.90 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.35% today to $3.394 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,780.80 an ounce, down 0.9%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 35 points to 13,610.22 (0.26%), the NASDAQ fell more than 13 points (-0.42%) to 3,136.19, and the S&P 500 fell -0.03% or less than 1 point to 1,460.92.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus and cut to ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee; Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) reiterated as buy and target raised to $68 at Argus; Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $80 at Canaccord Genuity; Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) started as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $81 at Credit Suisse; and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD) started as ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) is up 3.6% at $35.98 after posting a new 52-week high of $36.50 earlier today (more coverage here).
There are no earnings reports of note due before markets open on Monday. Our look at earnings due next week includes Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) on Tuesday, plus Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST), Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY), and a couple of big banks later in the week.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is down 13.3% at $2.45 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.21 earlier today. The social gaming company lowered its quarterly forecast last night and the stock was pummeled today. More coverage here.
Cell Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CTIC) is down 25.5% at $1.51 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.42 earlier today. The biopharma company announced a secondary stock offering today. More coverage here.
Monday is a federal holiday. U.S. banks and bond markets are closed, but equity markets will be open. No data releases are scheduled for Monday.
Have a great weekend!