The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning as markets have begun to reach the conclusion that this week’s Eurozone summit is not likely to resolve the continent’s financial crisis. Spain has formally requested €100 billion to recapitalize the nation’s banks (more coverage here). US new home sales continue to rise, but the better news did not offer a lot of encouragement to investors (our coverage here). Cyprus has also formally requested a bailout from its Eurozone partners, and while the amount is small, the potential ramifications are anything but (our coverage here).
The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.29% at 82.494. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 563.72, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed down -0.7% at $79.21/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.03% at $91.01/barrel. Natural gas rose about 2.6% today to $2.694/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 1.4%, at $1,588.40/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 138 points to 12,503.19 (-1.09%), the NASDAQ fell more than 56 points (-1.95%) to 2,836.16, and the S&P 500 fell -1.60% or more than 21 points to 1,313.71.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including AutoNation (NYSE: AN) cut to ‘sell’ at Deutsche Bank; Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) raised to ‘neutral’ at Janney; Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) reiterated ‘outperform’ and target price raised to $45 at Credit Suisse; Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) raised to ‘outperform’ at Oppenheimer; and Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley (more coverage here).
There have been no earnings reports of note since last Friday, but we’re scheduled to get earnings from Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) and Synnex Corp. (NYSE: SNX), among others after markets close today. Earnings are due tomorrow from H and R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB), LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK), and Sealy Corp. (NYSE: ZZ), among others.
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
J. Alexander’s Corp. (NASDAQ: JAX) is up 16.2% at $11.50 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.76 earlier today. The restaurant firm is being acquired by Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF) in a cash and stock deal worth $72 million.
Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) is up 13% at $21.88. The beer and alcoholic beverage maker is expected to benefit from the rumored acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev AB (NYSE: BUD) of the remaining shares it doesn’t own in Mexico’s Grupo Modelo. More coverage here.
Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE: SAH) is down -14.3% at $11.97. The automobile retailer has announced a private offering of up to $200 million of senior subordinated notes.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. – S&P Case-Shiller housing price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Conference board consumer confidence index
- 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing survey
- 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence survey
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. – 2-year note auction