24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — May 15, 2012

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Two of the three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning as investors reacted to the news from Greece that no government could be formed and that a second election will be held next month. The news on German manufacturing was good (more coverage here) and US data was also mostly better, but not enough to deflect a weak opening. Equities moved higher later in the day, but overall the market looks set to close half a point lower than where it opened. The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.75% at 81.211. The GSCI commodity index is down about 1% at 639.40, with commodities mostly higher today, defying the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down -0.8% at $93.98/barrel and Brent crude trades up 0.65% at $112.30/barrel. Gold settled down -0.3% today, at $1,557.10/ounce, the yellow metal’s lowest close of the year to date (more coverage here).

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 63 points to 12,632.08 (-0.50%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 9 points (-0.30%) to 2,893.76, and the S&P 500 fell -0.57% or nearly 8 points to 1,330.66.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) cut to ‘hold’ at Needham; Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) raised to ‘buy’ at Argus; McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Cowen; and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) started as ‘buy’ at Citigroup.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN) is up 5.5% at $5.79; Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is up XX% at $XX; A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) is up 4.5% at $40.63; Arctic Cat Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAT) is down -10.6% at $37.84; Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is up 6.8% at $50.45 after posting a new 52-week high of $51.65 earlier today; Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) is down -0.5% at $10.00; TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) is up 7.1% at $42.50; Valspar Corp. (NYSE: VAL) is down -6.7% at $46.45, and The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is down -2.6% at $48.61 (more coverage here).

On Wednesday we are scheduled to get earnings from 8×8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Chico’s FAS Inc. (NYSE: CHS), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Facebook Inc. (soon to be NASDAQ: FB) raised its IPO price range from from $28-$35 to $34-$38. It is possible the world will regain its balance following the company’s IPO, expected for Friday. But maybe not.

Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) is down -18.8% at $3.92 after posting a new 52-week low of $3.91 earlier today. The coal miner lowered shipment and price expectations this morning. More coverage here.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is up 1.7% at $36.39. CEO Jamie Dimon dodged a bullet at today’s shareholder meeting and kept both his jobs.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 2:00 p.m. – FOMC minutes released

Paul Ausick

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