Markets opened lower this morning, and continued to fall before holding at around -150 points for most of the day on the DJIA. Japan’s yen sale pushed the dollar sharply higher and pushed down commodity prices, virtually all of which are priced in dollars. There might also have been some profit-taking, but Japan’s intervention in the currency market set the tone. The Chicago PMI index came in a bit lower than expected and had no visible impact on equity prices. Crude oil has recovered to be nearly flat, but gold is down about -1.3%, at $1,724/ounce in the last hour of trading. Silver, copper, platinum, and palladium are all down as well. The DJIA fell almost -50 points in the final half hour of trading.The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than -276 points to 11,955.70 (-2.25%), the NASDAQ fell more than -52 points (-1.93%) to 2,684.41, and the S&P 500 fell -2.48% or nearly -32 points to 1,253.29.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including the addition of Aetna, Inc. (NYSE: AET) to Goldman Sachs’ Conviction Buy list. Goldman also raised Amerigroup Corp. (NYSE: AGP) to ‘buy’. JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus; Sandisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) cut to ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee; Weyerhaeuser Corp. (NYSE: WY) raised to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank; Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) cut to ‘equal-weight’ at Global Equities Research; and Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) started at ‘neutral’ by JP Morgan.Here are today’s big post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Shaw Group (NYSE: SHAW) up nearly 5.5%, at $23.39; Loews Corp. (NYSE: L) is down about -3%, at $40.07; Identive Group Inc. (NASDAQ: INVE) is down more than -6.5%, at $2.37; and Humana, Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is up more than 6.5%, at $85.68.
Several other standouts from today are as follows…
Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTA) is up more than 22%, at $14.96. The shares jumped following a court ruling that will hamper the introduction of competing drugs.
NuPath Inc. (NASDAQ: PATH) is up more than 15%, at $2.68. The company reported positive results on tests of its patch treatment for migraine headaches.
NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: NPSP) is down more than 33%, at $5.18. The company said that two patients for its new bowel drug died and another developed cancer.
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) is down more than -15%, at $4.06. This could well be caused by bit of profit-taking on solar stocks that posted sharp gains on Friday.
Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL), another solar maker, is also down about -14%, at $8.04. Just another day in the solar whirlwind.
Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) is down about -16%, at $7.31. The biofuel maker was refused a re-examination of a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. A two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve board of governors begins tomorrow. The first data on auto sales in October is expected tomorrow as well. We have noted the following events (all times Eastern):
10:00 a.m. — ISM Manufacturing index released
10:00 a.m. — US construction spending for September 2011