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All three major US indexes opened higher this morning, but enthusiasm tapered off quickly and steadily, if not sharply. A drop in the number of new home sales and a smaller-than-expected rise in the leading economic indicators index. Hope that talks between Greece and its creditors would yield an agreement also pushed markets higher. But the weak housing report and no further news from Europe kept share prices moving down. WTI crude gained 0.35% at $99.75/barrel and Brent crude is up 1.02% at $110.93. Gold is higher by 1.27% at $1,724.60.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 22 points to 12,734.63 (-0.18%), the NASDAQ fell about 13 points (-0.46%) to 2,805.28, and the S&P 500 fell -0.57% or nearly 7 points to 1,318.45.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD) cut to ‘perform’ at Oppenheimer; Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) started as ‘perform’ at Williams Capital; Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley; and Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) cut to ‘underweight’ at JPMorgan.

Earnings reports since markets closed on last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG) is down -3.66% at $77.29; Arctic Cat Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAT) is up more than 19% at $28.40 after posting a new 52-week high of $29.20 earlier today; AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is down -2.65% at $29.41; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) is down -0.92% at $32.40; Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is up 1.95% at $111.18; Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: CY) is down more than -11% at $17.03; Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) is up 0.95% at $82.51; McCormick & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MKC) is up 0.90% at $78.55; Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) is down more than -20% at $7.18; Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT) is up 1.61% at $45.96; and Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) is up 0.34% at $49.88.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

VIST Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: VIST) is up more than 62% at $11.20 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.50 earlier today. The bank holding company has agreed to be acquired by Tompkins Financial Corp. (AMEX: TMP) in an all-stock deal at an 86% premium to last night’s closing price, or about $85 million.

RealNetworks Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) is up more than 35% at $9.98. The digital media company has sold a video codec and a number of patents to Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) for $120 million.

Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTA) is down nearly -21% at $15.13. The biotechnology company lost its bid for an injunction against certain competitors.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is up about 22% at $116.01. The digital video streaming and rental company reported a better-than-expected number of new subscribers after markets closed last night.

Enterprise Financial Services Corp. (NASDAQ: EFSC) is down more than -19% at $12.51. The bank holding company will restate earnings for 2010 and the first three quarters of 2011 and expects to dilute 2010 earnings by half as a result.

Stay tuned for Friday. New York Fed President William Dudley is giving a speech in the morning. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – US GDP report
  • 9:55 a.m. – Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index

Paul Ausick