U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning as investors appear to be cautious as tomorrow’s elections get closer. Coupled with possible changes in the U.S., China will replace its leadership at its 18th National Communist Party Congress which convenes on Thursday. China’s non-manufacturing PMI came in better than expected. In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the eurozone crisis could last for another 5 years, and bond yields for some of the peripheral nations of the eurozone rose a few basis points. In the U.S., the ISM non-manufacturing index came in lower than expected (more coverage here). Services continued growing in October, but at a slower pace than in September.
The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.19% at 80.750. The GSCI commodity index is down 2% at 626.07, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed up XX% today, at $85.65 a barrel, as demand continues weak in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (more coverage here). Brent crude trades up 1.1% at $108.08 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.2% today at about $3.56 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,683.20 an ounce, up less 0.5% for the day.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 20 points to 13,113.05 (0.15%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 18 points (0.59%) to 2,999.66, and the S&P 500 rose 0.22% or about 3 points to 1,417.25.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Piper Jaffray; Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) raised to ‘buy’ at Nomura; Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan; Workday Inc. (NYSE: WDAY) started as ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity and as ‘outperform’ at William Blair; and Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus.
Earnings reports since U.S. markets closed last Friday resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: American States Water Co. (NYSE: AWR) is up 3.2% at $44.89 after posting a new 52-week high of $45.75; Bridgepoint Education Inc. (NYSE: BPI) is down 4.1% at $9.69; Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR) is down 4.8% at $67.79; Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK) is up 3.1% at $77.87; Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW) is down 1.3% at $38.98; Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) is down 2.5% at $44.64; Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY) is down 1.7% at $30.80; Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is up 8.7% at $31.44 (more coverage here); Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is down 6.3% at $91.97 (more coverage here); Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) is up 5.3% at $48.49; and True Religion Apparel Inc. (NASDAQ: TRLG) is down 1.4% at $26.20.
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from CF Industries Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CF), Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX), Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA), Walter Energy Co. (NYSE: WLT), Zillow Inc. (NASDAQ: Z), American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSC), AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS), Fossil Inc. (NASDAQ: FOSL), Louisiana Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX), and Vivus Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Vringo Inc. (NYSEMKT: VRNG) is up 26.3% at $3.50. The intellectual property company got a boost when the jury in the company’s suit against Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) asked the judge a question related to appropriate damages.
Ebix Inc. (NASDAQ: EBIX) is down 12.6% at $19.59 after posting a new 52-week low of $15.26 earlier today. The software provider has been reported to be under investigation by the SEC, a report the company has denied.
Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN) is down 11% at $4.79. The mortgage insurer plunged following a story at Barron’s saying the company may incur costs for claims it has already denied.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. It’s Election Day! We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:45 a.m. – ICSC-Goldman Store Sales
- 8:55 a.m. – Redbook
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
- 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction
- 3:00 p.m. – Treasury STRIPS
Don’t forget to vote!