U.S. equity markets opened lower again this morning, even following an agreement on the amount and delivery date of another eurozone bailout package for Greece (more coverage here). The lack of enthusiasm may have had something to do with a dreary economic outlook from the OECD (more coverage here). In Asia, stronger corporate profits in China diminished hopes that the government might apply more economic stimulus, turning good news into bad. In the U.S., orders for durable goods rose sharply (more coverage here), and consumer sentiment also rose to its highest level since February 2008 (more coverage here). Equity prices muddled along slightly above or below the opening line until Senator Harry Reid told reporters that little progress is being made in the debt discussions (more coverage here). That sent stocks sharply lower.
The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.20% at 80.408. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.43% at 646.99, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.6% today, at $87.18 a barrel. Brent crude trades down about 0.9% at $109.93 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.9% today at about $3.77 per thousand cubic feet. Gold settled down 0.4% today at $1,742.30 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 89 points to 12,878.21 (-0.69%), the NASDAQ fell about 9 points (-0.30%) to 2,967.79, and the S&P 500 fell -0.52% or more than 7 points to 1,398.95.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Steven Madden Ltd. (NASDAQ: SHOO) started as ‘sell’ with a target price of $35 at Goldman Sachs; Brocade Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCD) maintained as ‘hold’ at Argus; Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) raised to ‘buy’ with a target price of $24 at Cantor Fitzgerald; National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) cut to ‘hold’ at Canaccord Genuity.
Earnings reports of interest since U.S. markets closed last night have resulted in price moves today, including this one as of the last half hour of trading: ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT) is up 1.5% at $43.74 after posting a new 52-week high of $45.00 earlier today (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Analog Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR), PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH), American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO), Ann Inc. (NYSE: ANN), Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), Fresh Market Inc. (NYSE: TFM), JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO), Movado Group Inc. (NYSE: MOV), and SemiLEDS Corp. (NASDAQ: LEDS).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD) is up 130% at $5.30 after posting a new 52-week high of $6.54 earlier today. The biopharmaceuticals maker reported good results in a phase III trial of its drug for Parkinson’s disease. More coverage here.
McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE: MMR) is down 14.4% at $8.26 after posting a new 52-week low of $7.25 earlier today. The independent oil & gas company continues to get hammered today following a weak flow test report on its largest Gulf of Mexico well.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto and Fed Governor Danial Tarullo are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 10:00 a.m. – New home sales
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 5-year Treasury note auction
- 2:00 p.m. – Beige Book