July 2, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened a bit lower this morning following yet another ultimatum to Greece to prove that it can pay up or else no more loans. There was a time that this would have sent equities diving, but after so many similar warnings this was just a minor stumble. Elsewhere in Europe, eurozone PPI came in tick higher than expected. Spain also reported better than expected employment numbers. In Asia markets closed mixed on little new economic data. In the U.S., factory orders were a pleasant surprise, and new car sales rose sharply for both General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F).
U.S. equity markets will close at 1:00 p.m. ET tomorrow.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.59% today, now at 83.5460. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 616.02. WTI crude oil closed up 1.6% today, at $99.60 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.9% at $103.96 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.3% today at about $3.66 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 1% today at $1,243.40.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 42 points to 14,932.41 (-0.28%), the NASDAQ fell about 1 point (-0.03%) to 3,433.40, and the S&P 500 fell -0.06% or nearly 1 point to 1,614.08.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Linn Energy Co. (NASDAQ: LINE) and LinnCo LLC (NASDAQ: LNCO) cut to ‘neutral’ at J.P. Morgan<<LINK>>;
- Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) raised to ‘equal weight’ at Barclays;
- Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) started as ‘buy’ with a price target of $11 at Wunderlich;
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) raised to ‘strong buy’ at Raymond James; and
- Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have resulted in some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today:
- Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) is down 3.8% at $$51.15 on weak results and
- Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI) is up 6.9% at $81.15 after posting a new 52-week high of $83.30 earlier today.
There are no earnings reports of note due before markets open tomorrow morning.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS) is up 20.4% at $46.31 after posting a new 52-week high of $49.63 earlier today. The fast-casual restaurant chain is still flying high after last week’s IPO.
Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN) is down 25.4% at $6.24. The biotech firm said this morning that its hepatitis-C drug has been placed on a clinical hold by the FDA.
Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is up 6.5% at $3.27. The social games maker is named Don Mattrick, former head of the Xbox division of Microsoft Corp. (NYSE: MSFT), as the game maker’s new CEO. How about some cash for shareholders to celebrate?
Stay tuned for Wednesday. U.S. equity markets close at 1:00 ET today, in advance of the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday. We have (also) noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job-cut report
- 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
- 8:30 a.m. – International trade
- 10:00 a.m. – ISM non-manufacturing index
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 12:00 p.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report