U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning as investors seem to have reined in the enthusiasm that kicked off the new year. There was little new data out today, so markets followed the news. In Asia, markets closed mostly lower, as did European markets. Financial stocks were higher today as the Basel III regulations that were announced were less strict than originally planned and banks will have until 2019 to comply with the rules (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.32% today, now at 80.245. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.5% at 646.71, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.1% today, at $93.19 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.3% at $111.59 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.2% today at about $3.28 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.2% today at $1,646.30 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 51 points to 13,384.29 (-0.38%), the NASDAQ fell almost 3 points (-0.09%) to 3,098.81, and the S&P 500 -0.31% or more than 4 points to 1,461.88.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades of note today, including Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) started as ‘underweight at J.P. Morgan; Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) cut to ‘hold’ at Canaccord Genuity; Lowe’s Companies (NYSE: LOW) cut to ‘sell’ at Canaccord Genuity; Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein.
There were no earnings reports of note between Friday’s closing and this morning’s open. Earnings season gets its “official kick-off after markets close when Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) reports earnings. Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) reports before tomorrow’s opening bell.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PPHM) is up 77.8% at $2.40. The drug maker said today that its internal review of data from a phase II trial of its lung cancer drug indicated that the drug performed better than first reported in larger doses.
Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is down 19.3% at $1.51. The Chinese solar panel maker is giving back gains it made over the past few weeks. There was no particular reason for the gains (except perhaps short covering), and no particular reason for today’s drop.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Small Business optimism index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction
- 3:00 p.m. – Consumer credit