24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — November 23, 2012: Markets Higher on Throngs of Shoppers (E, PQ, TI, NOK, BIG, JOSB, SDRL, RIMM, KITD, MCP)

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U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning after taking a day off to celebrate Thanksgiving. Reasonably good news out of Europe this morning on several fronts. First, PMI numbers were above expectations in France, while Germany’s manufacturing PMI came in higher than expected and the countries services index came in a little lower. Spain’s producer price index rose less than expected, and Germany’s business climate index came in higher than expected. Eurozone leaders are (surprise!) deadlocked on budget negotiations and may not have a solution until after the beginning of 2013. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was also closed yesterday and action was sparse in the other major trading centers. In the U.S., what is thought to be a good start to the holiday shopping season have given markets a boost all day (more coverage here). U.S. markets closed early today, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.52% at 80.280. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.5% at 646.01, with commodities prices mostly higher today on the weaker dollar. WTI crude oil closed 0.9% today, at $88.74 a barrel. Brent crude trades up about 0.4% at $111.01 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.2% today at about $3.90 per thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 1.2% today at $1,748.50 an ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 173 points to 13,009.61 (1.35%), the NASDAQ rose more than 40 points (1.38%) to 2,966.85, and the S&P 500 rose 1.30% or about 18 points to 1,409.15.

There were only a few analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Eni SpA (NYSE: E) raised to ‘outperform’ at Macquarie; PetroQuest Energy Inc. (NYSE: PQ) raised to ‘buy’ at Stifel Nicolaus; Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) raised to ‘neutral’ at HSBC Securities; and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) raised to ‘buy’ with a target price of €2.9 ($3.75) at Danske.

Earnings reports from noteworthy companies won’t begin again until after markets close on Monday, when we expect to hear from Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG), Jos. A. Banks Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB), and Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL) among others.

On the Black Friday shopping scene, Retail Metrics is reporting that “traffic levels last night were decent but not eye-opening.” The research firm also said that although retail sales numbers for Black Friday may turn out to be a bit weak, investors should not overreact to the numbers. Despite lower unemployment, a better housing market, and consumer confidence at a 5-year high, “consumers are and still [will] be deal driven.”

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) is up 13.8% at $11.68. The mobile handset maker’s shares continue to rise in anticipation of new products. More coverage here.

Kit digital Inc. (NASDAQ: KITD) is down 64.7% at $0.73 after posting a new 52-week high of $0.72 earlier today. The Internet video technology company will restate financial results for the past three years.

Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) is up 17.3% at $8.48. The rare earths miner has seen some insider buying..

Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Chicago Fed national activity index
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

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