U.S. equity markets opened about flat this morning following the holiday weekend in the U.S. Foreign markets were also more or less mixed. In Europe, the German and eurozone economic indexes came in well above expectations (more coverage here), but the good news on the consumer front was offset by poor report from the U.K. on industrial orders. In Asia, the Bank of Japan officially adopted a 2% inflation target and an unlimited program of asset purchases (more coverage here). No surprise, so not a lot of movement in equity markets in Asia. In the U.S., existing home sales were down slightly month-over-month, but the full-year sales total was the highest in five years (more coverage here). Solid earnings reports helped push stocks higher today.
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.21% today, now at 79.869. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.4% at 660.83, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.7% today, at $96.24 a barrel to close the February contract. Brent crude trades up 0.6% at $112.42 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.2% today at about $3.56 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.4% today at $1,693.20 an ounce. Platinum closed higher than gold today, at $1,698.50 an ounce (more coverage here).
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 61 points to 13,710.83 (0.45%), the NASDAQ rose more than 8 points (0.27%) to 3,143.18, and the S&P 500 rose 0.44% or more than 6 points to 1,492.49.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) started as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $114 at Credit Suisse; Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $90 at Argus; Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) started as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $43 at Credit Suisse; ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) cut to ‘hold’ at Benchmark; and LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) started as ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in several price moves today, including these: Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is up 3.25% at $14.09 after posting a new 52-week high of $14.15 earlier (more coverage here); Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) is up 5.2% at $35.39 (more coverage here); Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is up 0.8% at $72.61; Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) is up 4.5% at $91.57 after posting a new 52-week high of 92.05 earlier; Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) is up 4.2% at $7.74 after posting a new 52-week high of $7.81 earlier; and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is up 0.8% at $42.87 (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), International Game Technology Inc. (NYSE: IGT), Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI), Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH), General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD), McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), and U.S. Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Research in Motion Ltd (NASDAQ: RIMM) is up 11.7% today at $17.70 after posting a new 52-week high of $17.75 earlier. The smartphone maker’s CEO has said again that the company could either sell its hardware division or start licensing its new operating system after next week’s launch of the BlackBerry 10. Move coverage here.
Daqo New Energy Corp. (NYSE: DQ) is up 27.4% at $13.05. The silicon wafer maker has gotten a boost on new commitments from the Chinese government on solar panel installations. LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) also got a boost today on a new financing deal. More coverage here.
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) is down 10.6% at $8.73. The drug company is getting hit following a request from the European regulator for more info on the company’s weight-loss drug. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 9:00 a.m. – Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auctions