The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower this morning and bounced around the flat line for most of the day. It seems that everyone is waiting to hear what Ben Bernanke has to say at the Fed’s summer retreat in Jackson Hole. Except ECB President Mario Draghi who announced today that he’s too busy to attend (our story here). There was little data out in Europe today, while in Asia Japan lowered its outlook based on declining exports. In the U.S., the Conference Board’s index on consumer confidence came in sharply lower than expected (our coverage here) and the monthly manufacturing survey from the Richmond Fed was also weak (more coverage here). U.S. house prices are rising, but buyers are still cautious (more coverage here).
The US dollar index fell today, now down 0.39% at 81.337. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.5% today at 666.96, with commodities prices mixed and corn dropping to below $8.00/bushel. WTI crude oil finished up 0.9% today, closing at $96.33/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.04% at $112.31/barrel. Natural gas is down 1% today to $2.627/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,669.70/ounce, down 0.4%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 22 points to 13,102.99(-0.17%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 4 points (0.13%) to 3,077.14, and the S&P 500 fell -0.08% or just over 1 point to 1,409.30.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS (more coverage here) ; IAC/InteractiveCorp. (NASDAQ: IACI) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a $62 target price at Canaccord Genuity; Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) maintained as ‘hold’ at Argus, VMWare Inc. (NYSE: VMW) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a price target of $120 at BofA/ML; and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS.
There were only a few earnings reports of note since markets closed last night, including Brown Shoe Co. Inc. (NYSE: BWS) down 7.2% at $14.29; China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Ltd. (NYSE: MY) down 0.1% at $1.21; Movado Group Inc. (NYSE: MOV) up 18.1% at $35.57 after posting a new 52-week high of $36.11 earlier today; and Sanderson Farms Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) up 9% at $44.26.
Earnings releases scheduled before markets open tomorrow morning include Fresh Market Inc. (NASDAQ: TFM), Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO), H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ), Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (NASDAQ: ISLE), JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO), Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY), Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE), and Zale Corp. (NYSE: ZLC).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
SeaBright Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SBX) is up 32.2% at $10.93 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.01 earlier today. The insurance company will be acquired by Enstar Group Limited (NASDAQ: ESGR) for $11.11 a share.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is down 7.4% at $3.01. The mobile device maker is giving back gains from yesterday that were related to the jury verdict in the patent trial involving Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung Electronics. Investors had hoped that Nokia would get a market share boost, but those hopes are not so high today.
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. – GDP
- 8:30 a.m. – Corporate profits
- 10:00 a.m. – Pending home sales index
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 5-year note auction
- 2:00 p.m. – Beige book released