U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning, probably as a reaction to the news that Italy’s prime minister has said that he will resign after a new budget is agreed to (more coverage here). Combined with weaker-than-expected industrial production data from both France and Germany, European news led to a risk-off opening. In Asia, data out of China was mixed, with lower-than-expected inflation, stronger industrial production, and higher retail sales offset by a lower-than-expected trade surplus (more coverage here). In the U.S., the Conference Board’s employment trends index turned negative for the first time in three years (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.08% at 80.347. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.4% at 632.88, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.4% today, at $85.56 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.4% at $107.39 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.7% today at about $3.46 per thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.5% today at $1,714.40 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 14 points to 13,169.57 (0.11%), the NASDAQ rose about 9 points (0.30%) to 2,986.96, and the S&P 500 rose 0.03% or less than 1 point to 1,418.56.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) cut to ‘sell’ with a target price of $48 at Goldman Sachs; Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) initiated as ‘underperform’ with a target price of $9 at BofA/ML (more coverage here); Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $14 at Argus; Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) raised to ‘outperform’ at Baird; and Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank and cut to ‘neutral’ at Baird.
There have been no significant earnings reports since markets closed Friday night.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Intermec Inc. (NYSE: IN) is up 22.9% at $9.81 after posting a new 52-week high of $9.82 earlier today. The mobile scanning technology company is being acquired by Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) for $10 a share. More coverage here.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is down about 9.1% at $4.26. The daily deals company rose about 20% on Friday, apparently on a rumor that Google Inc. (NYSE: GOOG) would acquire the company. That didn’t happen today.
Nexen Inc. (NYSE: NXY) is up 14% at $26.81 after posting a new 52-week high of $26.98 earlier today. The oil and gas producer’s acquisition by China’s Cnooc Ltd. (NYSE: CEO) was approved by the Canadian government. More coverage here.
The Cash Store Financial Services Co. (NYSE: CSFS) is down 20.1% at $3.39 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.90 earlier today. The payday lending firm said this morning that it will restate financial results for the first two quarters of this year relate to the company’s acquisition of a portfolio of loans from third-party lenders.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Fed Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting tomorrow. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Business optimism index
- 8:30 a.m. – International trade
- 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction