U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning as concerns about European markets reared up again. The U.K.’s PMI came in lower than expected and consumer confidence was lower, sending equities markets on the continent lower. Several Italian banks are being investigated for derivatives deals and a scandal in Spain also heated up over the weekend. In Asia, China reported a slightly higher-than-expected non-manufacturing PMI number (more coverage here). In the U.S., factory orders were up, but by less than expected (more coverage here). Earnings reports were scarce, so there wasn’t much for investors to take positive direction from.
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.5% today, now at 79.552. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.6% at 679.05, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 1.6% today, at $96.17 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 1% at $115.58 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.5% today at about $3.32 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.4% today at $1,676.40 an ounce (more gold coverage here).
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 130 points to 13,880.08 (-0.93%), the NASDAQ fell about 48 points (-1.51%) to 3,131.17, and the S&P 500 fell -1.15% or more than 17 points to 1,495.72.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) raised to ‘buy’ at Stifel Nicolaus; Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) cut to ‘market perform’ at BMO; Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS; and Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a $46 price target at Argus.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Changyou.com Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYOU) is down 9.5% at $28.34; Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is 6.1% at $18.64; Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is up 4.5% at $78.76 (more coverage here); Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD) is up 2.7% at $98.24 (more coverage here); Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) is down 3.8% at $35.41 (more coverage here); Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) is up 0.1% at $162.18; and The Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) is up 0.8% at $79.81 after posting a new 52-week high of $80.68.
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Anadarko Petroleum Co. (NYSE: APC), Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW), Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), AGCO Corp. (NASDAQ: AGCO), Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN), Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI), Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM), ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH), BP plc (NYSE: BP), Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN), Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL), Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), and Kellogg Inc. (NYSE: K).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is up 13.9% at $14.84. The smartphone maker, formerly known as Research in Motion, got a boost today from a report of good opening weekend sales in the U.K.. More coverage here.
The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is down 13.4% at $50.50. The financial information firm is getting hammered following a report that its S&P ratings agency may be investigated for its failure properly to let investors know the value of subprime mortgage bonds back in 2008. More coverage here. The company denies the any wrongdoing. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week Treasury bill auctions