U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning on softness in Asian markets and another punt in the eurozone. In Asia, China is rumored to be ready to expand its property tax program, Japanese industrial production fell 4.1% month-over-month, and Japan’s prime minister has a disapproval rating of 64%. In Europe, eurozone ministers met and adjourned and agreed to meet again next week. The ministers have essentially postponed the next tranche of aid to Greece, although the Greeks have been given an extra two years to meet the 120% deficit target (more coverage here). Greece did auction off €4 billion that should help the country meet its €5 billion debt repayment scheduled for Friday. In the U.S., the Treasury Department said this afternoon that October’s federal deficit totaled $120 billion (more coverage here). XXX
The U.S. dollar index rose slightly today, now up 0.04% at 81.066. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.3% at 634.52, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.5% today, at $85.17 a barrel. Brent crude trades down about 0.7% at $108.27 a barrel. Natural gas is up 4.7% today at about $3.74 per thousand cubic feet. Gold settled down 0.4% today at $1,724.80 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 59 points to 12,756.18 (-0.46%), the NASDAQ fell more than 20 points (-0.70%) to 2,883.89, and the S&P 500 fell -0.40% or nearly 6 points to 1,374.53.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) reiterated as ‘buy’ and Focus List with a target price of $118 at Argus; Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; NuStar Energy L.P. (NYSE: NS) raised to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; and Fresenius Medical Care AG (NYSE: FMS) raised to ‘Conviction Buy List’ at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports of interest since U.S. markets closed last night have resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. (NASDAQ: BAGL) is up 0.9% at $15.10; Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) is down 0.8% at $38.98; Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is up 4.8% at $51.03; Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is up 3.7% at $63.45 after posting a new 52-week high of $64.43 earlier today (more coverage here); Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) is up 0.8% at $50.99 (more coverage here); Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) is up 0.7% at $9.95 (more coverage here); and The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) is up 2.5% at $42.01 (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) (more coverage here), Iamgold Corp. (NYSE: IAG), Renren Inc. (NASDAQ: RENN), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), and Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Weatherford International Inc. (NYSE: WFT) is down 16.3% at $9.11 after posting a new 52-week low of $9.03 earlier today. The oil field services continues to work on reworking earlier operating income figures. More coverage here.
Greenbrier Companies (NYSE: GBX) is up 20.4% at $16.80. The railcar maker is now 9.9% owned by activist investor Carl Icahn, who says the company’s stock is undervalued and who also said he would like to discuss “strategic opportunities” with Greenbrier execs. Well, it makes more sense than Icahn’s investments in Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).
Stay tuned for Wednesday. San Francisco Fed President John Williams 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. – Producer price index
- 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week Treasury bill auctions
- 2:00 p.m. – FOMC minutes