U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning and failed to find a direction driver throughout the trading day. In Europe, Germany reported a stronger-than-expected trade surplus, while the U.K.’s trade deficit was slightly larger than expected. Italian industrial production slipped and the county’s 3-month debt yields were significantly higher than in the previous auction. Yields on 12-month bills were substantially lower though. In Asia, Hong Kong GDP rose less than expected and Japan reported a wider current account surplus. The U.S. dollar now buys more than 100 Japanese yen (more coverage here). In the U.S., the U.S. Treasury reported a larger-than-expected budget surplus for April (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.43% today, now at 83.1490. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.3% at 634.91. WTI crude oil closed down 0.4%, at $96.04 a barrel, and closed the week 0.5% higher. Brent crude trades down 0.7% at $103.79 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.8% today at about $3.91 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 2.2% today at $1,436.60, and tallied a loss for the week of nearly 2%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 36 points to 15,118.49 (0.24%), the NASDAQ rose more than 27 points (0.80%) to 3,436.58, and the S&P 500 rose 0.43% or about 7 points to 1,633.70.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ: DNDN) cut to ‘sell’ at Citigroup;
- L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Lazard (formerly Limited Brands Inc.);
- Workday Inc. (NYSE: WDAY) started as ‘outperform’ at Oppenheimer;
- American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; and
- Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) raised to ‘hold’ at SocGen.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- magicJack Vocaltec Ltd. (NASDAQ: CALL) is down 12.4% at $16.86;
- Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: UEPS) is up 0.4% at $7.82;
- Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) is up 4.6% at $14.55;
- Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) is up 4% at $766.98 after posting a new 52-week high of $769.67 earlier today (more coverage here);
- TheStreet Inc. (NASDAQ: TST) is down 0.2% at $1.90; and
- Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) is down 2.1% at $3.23.
Before markets open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear notable earnings from only Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW). Another mining firm that trades in London, Lonmin PLC, reports earnings Monday morning. Lonmin, a platinum miner, could face some of the same difficulties we noted in our story today about the platinum sector.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Affymax Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFY) is down 25.4% at $1.35. The drug maker said in its 10-K filing today that the February recall of its Omontys drug “has severely harmed our business, financial condition and prospects as a going concern.”
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
- 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!