U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning following an announcement from Germany that its economy had contracted by 0.5% in the fourth quarter (more coverage here). U.S. data was released on producer prices and retail sales along with the Empire State manufacturing index (more coverage here). In Asia, investors are waiting for more data from China due out later this week, and the Japanese yen weakened by nearly a full percent against the dollar before coming back following comments that the yen is fundamentally in line with expectations. Pre-market earnings results didn’t bolster the opening either.
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.35% today, now at 79.763. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.9% at 655.19, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.9% today, at $93.28 a barrel. Brent crude trades down about 1.4% at $110.32 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.1% today at about $3.44 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.9% today at $1,683.90 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 27 points to 13,534.43 (0.20%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 7 points (-0.22%) to 3,110.78, and the S&P 500 rose 0.11% or nearly 2 points to 1,472.34.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) cut to ‘underweight’ at J.P. Morgan; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $50 at Argus; Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) cut to ‘neutral’ at boutique firm Monnes Crespi Hardt; ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; and Logitech International SA (NASDAQ: LOGI) cut to ‘underperform’ at Credit Suisse.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE: ED) is down 0.8% at $55.28; Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX) is up 0.5% at $37.77 (more coverage here); and Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) is down 0.7% at $40.76 (more coverage here).
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), The Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN), and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) is up 23.5% today at $17.37. The specialty retail raised its fourth quarter and full fiscal year forecasts this morning well above earlier estimates.
Majesco Entertainment Co. (NASDAQ: COOL) is down 29.7% at $0.74 after posting a new 52-week low of $0.67 earlier today. The video game maker posted dismal quarterly results last night and guided for more to come.
Big Five Sporting Goods Corp. (NASDAQ: BGFV)) is up 11.8% at $14.57 after posting a new 52-week high of $14.74 earlier today. The sporting goods retailer posted very good fourth quarter and fiscal year results and boosted earnings projections for both.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher 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
- 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
- 9:00 a.m. – Treasury International Capital (TIC) data
- 9:15 a.m. – Industrial production
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 2:00 p.m. – Federal Reserve Beige Book