24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (TM, LVS, P, MWW, PCS, LEAP, CVGW, CCRN, SUP, VRNM, NATR, KERX, TSON, ARCL, GRH, YELP)

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After opening lower this morning on weak data from Europe and Asia, the ISM non-manufacturing index for the US came in better than expected, but it was not enough to swing indexes toward gains. Eurozone PMI fell in February to a lower-than-expected reading of 49.3, reawakening fears of a second eurozone recession (more coverage here). The news from Asia was also weak, with China announcing an expected GDP growth rate of 7.5% for 2012, the lowest since 2004. The report on US new factory orders was also lower this morning. Crude oil has been see-sawing all day, and is now slightly higher. WTI crude is essentially flat at $106.72/barrel and Brent crude is up 0.13% at $123.81/barrel. Gold settled lower today, down -0.3% at $1,703.90/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 15 points to 12,962.81(-0.11%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 26 points (-0.86%) to 2,950.48, and the S&P 500 fell -0.39% or more than 5 points to 1,634.33.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) reiterated as ‘outperform’ and target price raised to $64 at Credit Suisse; Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) raised to ‘buy’ at Stifel Nicolaus; Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) started as ‘outperform’ at BMO; and MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS) and Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Calavo Growers Inc. (NASDAQ: CVGW) is down -1.37% at $26.63; Cross Country Healthcare Inc. (NASDAQ: CCRN) is up 0.19% at $5.39; Superior Industries International Inc. (NYSE: SUP) is up 7% at $19.06; Verenium Corp. (NASDAQ: VRNM) is down -10% at $3.10; and Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NASDAQ: NATR) is up more than 16% at $17.00.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is up nearly 34% at $4.95. The biopharma company is expected to win FDA approval soon for a cancer drug.

TranS1 Inc. (NASDAQ: TSON) is up about 22% at $4.00. The medical device maker received a code-change approval from the American Medical Association that incorporates one of TranS1’s devices.

Archipelago Learning Inc. (NASDAQ: ARCL) is up more than 22% at $11.05 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.21. The subscription-based provider of education products is being acquired for $291 million ($11.10/share) by a privately held competitor.

GreenHunter Energy Inc. (AMEX: GRH) is down about -12% at $2.75. The independent oil & gas company had no news today, but early weakness in crude prices moved share prices down for several small energy companies.

Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) is down nearly -14% at $21.18. The social networking company is seeing some profit-taking today following its successful IPO last Friday that saw shares gain about 64%.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week Treasury bill auction
3:00 p.m. – US Treasury STRIPS

Paul Ausick

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