U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning and then fell even more following the U.S. non-farm payroll and unemployment report (more coverage here). Outside the U.S., little data came out. German factory orders rose more than expected, while eurozone retail sales fell a bit further than expected. In Asia, Japan’s leading indicator index rose more than expected and the Nikkei closed higher. Hong Kong closed lower and Shanghai remained closed for a holiday. The saber-rattling out of North Korea did not help matters either. Late in the day, the Fed’s report on consumer credit in February showed a jump of $18.1 billion, the largest increase since last August. Non-revolving debt, such as auto loans and student loans, rose 10.9%, the most since July 2011. U.S. consumers’ credit card debt rose just 0.75% in February.
The U.S. dollar index is down 0.2% today, now at 82.506. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.9% at 633.00. WTI crude oil closed down 0.6% today, at $92.70 a barrel, and closed the week down 4.7%. Brent crude trades down 2% at $104.22 a barrel. Natural gas is up 4.4% today at about $4.12 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 1.5% today at $1,575.90 an ounce, but closed the week down 1.2%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 41 points to 14,565.02 (-0.28%), the NASDAQ fell about 21 points (-0.65%) to 3,203.86, and the S&P 500 fell -0.43% or nearly 7 points to 1,53.27.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) cut to ‘underperform’ at BMO Capital Markets; JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) raised to ‘overweight’ at Evercore; Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $36 at Argus (more coverage here); Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) started as ‘neutral’ at Baird; and News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse.
No earnings of note were released before markets opened today, however F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) released an earnings and revenue warning after markets closed last night that weighed down network equipment makers today (more coverage here).
There are no earnings of note scheduled before markets open Monday morning either. However Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) is scheduled to report earnings after markets close Monday, kicking off another round of earnings.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Cemex S.A.B de C.V. (NYSE: CX) is up 6.4% at $12.42 after posting a new 52-week high of $12.47 earlier today. The Mexico-based cement maker had no news today, and only made up ground it had lost over the last two days.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is down 2.2% at $20.57. The network equipment maker was caught in the whirlpool brought on by the warning from F5 Networks.
Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is up 1.8% at $3.51. The social game maker got a boost from a new appointment to its board of directors and an announcement that the CEO will take a salary of $1 for 2013.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!