The three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning on a report from Europe that German chancellor Angela Merkel now backs bond buying by the European Central Bank.Even a larger-than-expected drop in Italian GDP didn’t drag European equities down. Asian markets continued their modest rally from yesterday. US trading volume was lower again today on the absence of an major new data announcements.
The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.04% at 82.233. The GSCI commodity index rose by about 0.4% to 650.34, with commodities prices mostly lower again today. WTI crude oil rose 1.6% today, closing at $93.67/barrel. Brent crude trades up 2.18% at $111.94/barrel. Natural gas is up 2.3% today to $2.974/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,612.80/ounce, down -0.2% for the day.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 50 points to 13,168.22 (0.39%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 26 points (0.87%) to 3,015.86, and the S&P 500 rose 0.50% or about 7 points to 1,401.31.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) started as ‘overweight’ at Stephens; Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) started as ‘sell’ at UBS; Sanmina-SCI Corp. (NASDAQ: SANM) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) raised to ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity; and VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) raised to ‘buy’ at Lazard.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up 9.2% at $19.33; Broadsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT) is up 33.9% at $37.35; Ceasars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) is down -3.4% at $8.18 after posting a new 52-week low of $8.00 earlier today; Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) is down -6.8% at $13.64; Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP) is down -19.4% at $4.45 after posting a new 52-week low of $4.28 earlier today; McDermott International Inc. (NYSE: MDR) is down -6.4% at $11.23; Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) is down -2.2% at $83.75; Amerigas Partners L.P. (NYSE: APU) is down -0.7% at $42.38; Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) is down -1.1% at $25.75; Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE: CDE) is up 5.7% at $18.43; MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is up 7.4% at $10.07; Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) is down -6.3% at $1.63; Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is up 3.9% at $2.29 (more coverage here); and Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC) up 8.5% at $5.06.
After markets close today we’re scheduled to hear from Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID), Demand Media Inc. (NYSE: DMD), Gevo Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN), and Solazyme Inc. (NASDAQ: SZYM).
Before markets open on Wednesday we are scheduled to get earnings results from A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE), Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR), Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ: CG), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC), Dean Foods Inc. (NYSE: DF), DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC), Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR), and Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Stay tuned for Wednesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 8:30 a.m. – Productivity and costs
- 10:30 p.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 10-year note auction