U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning with the Nasdaq Composite slightly higher, while the DJIA and the S&P 500 were lower. Earnings from several U.S. financial institutions were due today and investors were likely waiting to see how the reports came in. The World Bank also lowered its forecast for global growth in 2013 from 2.9% to 2.4% (more coverage here). In Europe, the eurozone consumer price index was reported at 2.2%, in line with expectations. In Asia, some members of the Japan’s cabinet cautioned against too great a drop in the yen, and that cooled Asian markets. China’s reported drop of 3.7% in foreign direct investment didn’t help. In the U.S., the consumer price index was flat in December (more coverage here) and industrial production was higher (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.02% today, now at 79.798. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.5% at 652.18, with commodities prices mixed again today. WTI crude oil closed up 1% today, at $94.24 a barrel following a surprise drop in crude inventories (more coverage here). Brent crude trades up less than 0.1% at $109.73 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.4% today at about $3.44 per million BTUs. Gold settled down fractionally today at $1,683.20 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 24 points to 13,511.08 (-0.18%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 7 points (0.22%) to 3,117.54, and the S&P 500 rose 0.02% or less than 1 point to 1,472.62.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) maintained as ‘buy’ with price target of $810 at Canaccord Genuity; Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (NYSE: BUD) cut to ‘reduce’ at Nomura; ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS; Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) maintained as ‘buy’ but removed from Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) is down 2.7% at $26.07; Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) is up 3.6% at $33.03 (more coverage here); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is up 0.6% at $46.63 after posting a new 52-week high of $46.68 earlier today (more coverage here); Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) is up 4.2% at $141.31 after posting a new 52-week high of $141.44 earlier today (more coverage here); The Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) is up 3.2% at $5.06; and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) is down 0.2% at $33.21.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE: KMP), BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC), and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is up 8.7% today at $8.84. The financial services firm announced plans to create a new parent company and take other steps to reduce its chances of defaulting on its debt.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is up 4.5% at $507.75. The PC and consumer electronics device maker is believed by some to have hit a floor and will now begin its bounce.
Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) is down 8.9% at $14.32. The footwear maker said this morning that it had a difficult holiday season, although it did reiterate revenue guidance that is slightly above the consensus estimate.
Stay tuned for Thursday. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed survey
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply