U.S. equity markets opened very slightly higher this morning but it was all downhill from there. The U.S. jobs report from ADP came in weaker than expected and cast a shadow of Friday’s report on non-farm payrolls and unemployment (more coverage here). Later in the morning, the ISM report on non-manufacturing PMI also came in below expectations, as did yesterday’s index on manufacturing, throwing some doubt onto corporate results going into the new earnings season (more coverage here). There was little data in either Asia or Europe today. China’s non-manufacturing PMI rose more than expected and the eurozone’s consumer price index clocked in at 1.7%, slightly above expectations.
The U.S. dollar index is down 0.26% today, now at 82.708. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.2% at 651.87. WTI crude oil closed down 2.8% today, at $94.45 a barrel,after an inventory report that showed a larger than expected increase (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 3.5% at $107.44 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.5% today at about $3.92 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 1.3% today at $1,553.30 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 112 points to 14,550.35 (-0.76%), the NASDAQ fell more than 36 points (-1.11%) to 3,218.60, and the S&P 500 fell -1.05% or nearly nearly 17 points to 1,553.69.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CBST) cut to ‘sell’ at Cantor Fitzgerald, Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE: CRL) cut to ‘sell’ at Citigroup; Gold Fields Ltd. (NYSE: GFI) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; NextEra Energy Inc. (NYSE: NEE) raised to ‘Conviction Buy’ list with a price target of $84 at Goldman Sachs; and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in a few price move today: Team Inc. (NASDAQ: TISI) is down 5.3% at $37.79; ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) is down 2.1% at $34.80 (more coverage here); Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) is up 0.4% at $104.06 (more coverage here); and Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHN) is up 1.5% at $25.82.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is down 3.2% at $11.76. The big bank is leading its competitors on a slide today, likely due to the weak ADP employment news, which means fewer home buyers, fewer mortgages, and less consumer borrowing.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is up 3.3% at $26.26. The social networking giant is announcing a Facebook phone tomorrow and is likely getting a bit of lift from Zynga, which provides Facebook’s for-fun-only casino games.
Stay tuned for Thursday. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Fed Governor Esther George, and Fed Vice-Chair Janet Yellen are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job-cut report
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 3:00 p.m. – Treasury STRIPS
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply