The three major US stock indexes opened slightly higher this morning, but the DJIA almost immediately turned south and remained in negative territory all session. The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 turned south in the early afternoon. China’s central bank said that it would continue to buy European sovereign debt and do its part to help the Eurozone recover. But nothing much has happened on the continent today to build up hopes for avoiding a Greek default. The afternoon release of the FOMC minutes cooled markets even more as the minutes showed little enthusiasm for another round of quantitative easing. Crude oil is higher today following Iran’s announcement that it was cutting off supplies to six European countries (see our coverage here). WTI is up 1.05% at $101.80/barrel and Brent is up 1.34% at $118.92. Gold rose 0.6% to settle at $1,728.10/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 97 points to 12,780.95 (-0.76%), the NASDAQ fell 16 points (-0.55%) to 2,915.83, and the S&P 500 fell -0.54% or more than 7 points to 1,343.23.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) cut to ‘underperform’ at Sterne Agee; Kimberley-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) cut to ‘neutral’ at Janney; Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) cut to ‘market perform’ at Raymond James; and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) is up 8.2% at $48.25; Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is up 4.5% at $28.48 after posting a new 52-week high of $29.05 earlier today; Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC) is up nearly 19% at $81.66; Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) is down -5.4% at $84.21; Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) is up about 7% at $71.64 (more coverage here); Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) is down -5.9% at $17.19; Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. (NYSE: NOR) is down -2% at $10.63; Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: TEVA) is up 3.4% at $45.01; and Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is down nearly -15% at $12.21.
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN) completed a 1:10 reverse split this morning. We have more coverage here.
BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BPAX) is up more than 30% at $0.99. The company’s testosterone replacement drug for men has been approved by the FDA and will be co-marketed with Teva.
China Sky One Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: CSKI) China Sky One is down more than -28% at $1.10. Volume is nearly 10x the daily average of about 285,000 shares traded. The nutritional supplement company’s shares were stopped following an announcement of the resignations of 26 managers and the reported illness of the CEO.
Imperial Sugar Co. (NASDAQ: IPSU) is down nearly -14% at $5.75. Investors are likely taking profits today, following a week-long run-up in the share price.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) is up nearly 15% at $12.59. The biopharmaceutical company priced a secondary share offering at $10.75. More coverage here.
Cybex International Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBI) is up more than 19% at $1.81 after posting a new 52-week high of $2.01 earlier this morning. The sporting goods maker posted better-than-expected earnings this morning.
Stay tuned for Thursday. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed survey
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 1:00 p.m. – 30-year TIPS auction
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply