U.S. equity markets re-opened for business in New York this morning after a two-day shutdown forced by Hurricane Sandy. Markets opened higher, but lost their energy by mid-morning. Asian markets were higher on some decent earnings reports out of China and other mixed data reports. In Europe, consumer confidence hit a six-month low in the U.K. and Europe’s unemployment ticked back up to 11.6% (more coverage here). Eurozone members continue to wrestle with the Greek debacle following worse-than-expected estimates on that country’s debt forecast. In the U.S., mortgage applications fell and interest rates ticked back up (more coverage here) and the quarterly report on U.S. employment costs was largely inline with expectations and mostly ignored (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.04% at 79.901. The GSCI commodity index is down less than 0.1% at 635.79, with commodities prices mixed again today. WTI crude oil is up about xx% in electronic trading today, at $86.24 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.5% at $108.55 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.2% today at about $3.70 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,719.10 an ounce, up about 0.4% for the day, but down 3% for the month of October.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 10 points to 13,096.85 (-0.08%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 11 points (-0.36%) to 2,977.23, and the S&P 500 rose 0.01% or less than 1 point to 1,412.15.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Baird; Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $7.50 at Argus; UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) was added to the ‘Conviction Buy List’ at Goldman Sachs; Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE: D) raised to ‘buy’ at Argus; and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $39 at BofA/ML.
Earnings reports since last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Anheuser Busch InBev SA (NYSE: BUD) is down 1.7% at $83.79; ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) is down 4.2% at $14.80; Cameron International Corp. (NYSE: CAM) is down 2.6% at $49.92; CNH Global NV (NYSE: CNH) is up 4.5% at $44.79; Corinthian Colleges Inc. (NASDAQ: COCO) is up 8.6% at $2.65; Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is down 0.3% at $93.56; Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) is up 4.4% at $47.12; Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) is down 4.1% at $36.49; MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) is up 2.1% at $462.65 (more coverage here); Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) is down 0.6% at $47.23 (more coverage here); The Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) is up 0.3% at $72.30; and Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) is up 0.9% at $32.83.
Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to hear from Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL), Ceasars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR), Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE: MUR), Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HCA), and Royal Gold Inc. (NYSE: RGLD).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
The Western Union Co. (NYSE: WU) is down 28.7% at $12.79 after posting a new 52-week low of $12.48 earlier today. The money and payment services company lowered its fiscal year outlook and investors hit the firm’s stock hard.
The Warnaco Group Inc. (NYSE: WRC) is up 38.5% at $70.48, after posting a new 52-week high of $71.41 earlier today. The apparel maker has agreed to a $2.9 billion acquisition by PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH). More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Thursday. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart are scheduled to give speeches. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job cut report
- 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 8:30 a.m. – Productivity and costs
- 8:58 a.m. – PMI manufacturing index
- 10:00 a.m. – Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index
- 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer confidence
- 10:00 a.m. – Construction spending
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply.