U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning on relatively little new data. In Europe, Italian consumer confidence rose more than expected and Germany auctioned 12-month bills at a positive yield for the first time since last June. In Asia, Japan’s cabinet said it expects 2013 GDP growth to reach 2.5% and CPI growth of around 0.5%. A governor of the People’s Bank of China said he expects GDP growth in the Middle Kingdom to be 8% in 2013. Profits at China’s major industrial enterprises grew 5.3% last year. In the U.S., durable goods orders rose more than expected — 4.6% — and pending home sales were weaker than expected (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.05% today, now at 79.781. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.2% at 662.75, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.6% today, at $96.44 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $113.47 a barrel. Natural gas is down 4.5% today at about $3.29 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.2% today at $1,655.90 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 13 points to 13,882.31 (-0.10%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 5 points (0.10%) to 3,154.30, and the S&P 500 fell -0.18% or nearly 3 points to 1,500.18.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Holly Energy Partners LP. (NYSE: HEP) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) raised to ‘outperform’ at Raymond James; and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) raised to ‘buy’ at BB&T.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in several price moves today, including these: Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is up 1.7% at $97.20 (more coverage here); Roper Industries Inc. (NYSE: ROP) is down 0.2% at $118.55 after posting a new 52-week high of $120.67 earlier today; Sify Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: SIFY) is up 4.3% at $2.41; and Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is up 3% at $150.55 (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear from Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX), VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD), Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is up 82.5% at $6.26 after posting a new 52-week high of $6.86 earlier today. The biopharma company reported better-than-expected results in trials of a new kidney drug. More coverage here.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) is down 16.3% today at $38.72 after posting a low of $37.31. The apparel retailer issued a sharp warnings on quarterly earnings after markets closed last Friday.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is down 8.8% at $39.77. The nutritional and weight-loss products maker took some damage today from an announced prosecution of another multi-level marketing firm. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting today. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. – Case-Shiller house price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer confidence
- 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction
- 1:00 p.m. – 5-year Treasury note auction