U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning before dipping following the report on new home sales in the U.S. Stocks regained positive momentum during most of the remaining session. In Europe, Germany’s Ifo Institute’s business climate index came in stronger than expected, boosting most European markets and putting U.S. pre-market trading higher (more coverage here). The U.K’s fourth quarter GDP shrank more than expected and full-year 2012 GDP showed no growth (more coverage here). In Asia, there was little new data out, but the Japanese yen weakened to more than 90 to the U.S. dollar. New home sales in the U.S. were lower in December, mainly due to a sharp upward revision in the November figures (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.27% today, now at 79.736. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.3% at 664.22, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.1% today, at $95.88 a barrel and closed the week down 0.2%. Brent crude trades up 0.1% at $113.35 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.1% today at about $3.45 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.8% today at $1,656.60 an ounce and closed the week down 1.8%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 70 points to 13,895.83 (0.51%), the NASDAQ rose about 19 points (0.62%) to 3,149.71, and the S&P 500 rose 0.54% or about 8 points to 1,502.95.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Janus Capital Group Inc. (NYSE: JNS) cut to ‘sell’ at Citigroup; Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) maintained as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $290 at Canaccord Genuity; Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $96 at Argus; Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) removed from Conviction Buy List and price target lowered to $670 at Goldman Sachs (more coverage here); and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) raised to ‘outperform’ at Bernstein and started as ‘positive’ at Susquehanna.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is up 0.5% at $33.92; Juniper Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: JNPR) is up 4.7% at $22.51; Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is up 0.9% at $27.88 (more coverage here); Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) is up 4.5% at $57.03 (more coverage here); Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is up 5.3% at $39.81 after posting a new 52-week high of $40.28 earlier today (more coverage here); Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is down fractionally at $68.22 after posting a new 52-week high of $69.25 earlier today (more coverage here); Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) is down 0.5% at $86.11 after posting a new 52-week high of $89.27 earlier today; and Weyerhaeuser Corp. (NYSE: WY) is down 1.9% at $30.89 after posting a new 52-week high of $32.67 earlier today.
After markets close today and before they open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear from Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), Roper Industries Inc. (NYSE: ROP), Sify Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: SIFY), and Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB). We also have a preview of other notable earnings due out next week here.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is up 16% at $170.40 after posting a new 52-week high of $172.68 earlier today. The video distribution firm continues its high-flying ways following its blowout earnings report.
Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. (NYSE: BFAM) is up 28.2% today at $28.21 after posting a high of $28.93. The employer-provided day-care company held its IPO today. More coverage here.
Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ: SCSS) is down 17.7% at $23.22. The mattress maker reported lower profits on higher revenues for the fourth quarter. Investors didn’t like what they heard.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Durable goods orders
- 10:00 a.m. – Pending home sales
- 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. – 3-year Treasury note auction
Have a great weekend!