Markets opened lower this morning and by mid-morning equities were trading down about -1% across the board, where they have mostly remained for the rest of the day. Worries about Spain have replaced worries about Greece, and both the high borrowing levels by Spanish banks (our coverage here) and the record high CDS rates stoked those concerns. China’s weaker-than-expected GDP growth also figured into today’s lower prices (our coverage here). A flight to safety lifted Treasuries and the dollar. The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.76% at 79.885. The GSCI commodity index is up about 1.2% at 687.36, with most commodities falling on the rising dollar. WTI crude oil closed down -0.8% at $102.83/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -0.26% at $121.20/barrel. Gold settled down -1.2% today, at $1,660.20/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 137 points to 12,849.59 (-1.05%), the NASDAQ fell more than 44 points (-1.45%) to 3,011.33, and the S&P 500 fell -1.25% or more than 17 points to 1,370.26.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $770 at BofA/ML; Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) cut to ‘equal-weight’ at Barclays (our coverage here); VMWare Inc. (NYSE: VMW) started as ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray; Edison International (NYSE: EIX) raised to ‘outperform’ at Wells Fargo; and Cloud Peak Energy Corp. (NYSE: CLD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse (more coverage here).
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is down -3.9% at $625.38 (more coverage here); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is down -3.5% at $43.26 (more coverage here); Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is down -3.3% at $32.90 (more coverage here); and iGate Corp. (NASDAQ: IGTE) is up 10.5% at $18.97 after posting a new 52-week high earlier today of $19.64.
Our preview of the top earnings reports due next week is available here. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) are among the major reports we’re waiting for.
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: GTIM) is up 98.2% at $2.18 after posting a new 52-week high today of $3.14. The small restaurant chain hired a consultant to help it review its strategic options, one of which would be more acquisitions.
The Talbots Inc. (NYSE: TLB) is down -16.3% at $2.62. The troubled retailer forecast lower-than-expected first-quarter revenues and put itself up for sale last year.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
- 9:00 a.m. – Treasury International Capital (TIC) data
- 10:00 a.m. – Business Inventories
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auction