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The major US stock indexes opened flat this morning but started to move higher following the better-than-expected ISM report on manufacturing (our coverage here). Construction spending in the US was a bit lower, but not enough to quell the enthusiasm over the manufacturing report. The US dollar index rose slightly today, now up 0.056% at 78.820. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 684.88, with commodities mostly lower on the rising dollar. Cocoa put up a big gain today, while orange juice posted another sharp decline. WTI crude oil closed up 1.2% at $106.16/barrel, and Brent crude trades up 0.17% at $119.67/barrel. Gold settled up 0.1% today, at $1,662.40/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 67 points to 13,280.31 (0.5%), the NASDAQ rose about 4 points (0.13%) to 3,050.44, and the S&P 500 rose 0.57% or nearly 8 points to 1,405.89.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: WPI) reiterated as ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity; AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) raised to ‘neutral’ at BofA; Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS; SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank; and Meru Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: MERU) cut to ‘neutral’ at RW Baird.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is down -3.8% at $9.39 (more coverage here); Veeco Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: VECO) is up 14.8% at $34.67 (more coverage here); Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE: PBY) is down -21.8% at $11.67 (more coverage here); Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) is up 7.9% at $33.25; Corn Products International Inc. (NYSE: CPO) is down -0.14% at $56.98; Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) is down -7.6% at $19.95; Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) is down -9.6% at $34.18; Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is down -0.14% at $22.87; and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is up 0.9% at $24.92.

Tomorrow we get earnings from Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX), JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. (NASDAQ: PFCB) is up 29.7% at $51.46. The company is being taken private in a deal worth $1.1 billion. More coverage here.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is up 0.8% at $11.05. The airlines bought an oil refinery from newly-public Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX). More coverage here.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up 6.3% at $19.60. The company’s chairman will be replaced and the company reports earnings after markets close today. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker are giving speeches. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job cut report
  • 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
  • 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report

Paul Ausick

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