July 11, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning, cheered by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech after markets closed night. In Asia, the Shanghai exchange soared 3.2%, even though there was little to cheer about in China’s economic outlook. The Hang Seng also rose sharply overnight. In Europe, Germany’s wholesale price index fell last month and French CPI was slightly higher than expected. In the U.S., new claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly. U.S. export and import prices both declined slightly in June. The 30-year bond auction was not a huge success nor a huge flop and the Treasury budget report posted the largest surplus in five years.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 1.54% today, now at 82.750. The GSCI commodity index is up 1.1% at 644.31. WTI crude oil closed down 1.5% today, at $104.91 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.9% at $107.63 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.9% today at about $3.61 per million BTUs after a large rise in storage reported today. Gold for August delivery settled up 2.6% today at $1,279.90.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 169 points to 15,461.07 (1.11%), a record high close; the NASDAQ rose more than 57 points (1.63%) to 3,578.30; and the S&P 500 rose 1.36% or more than 22 points to 1,675.03, also a record high.
- Marketo Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTO) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS;
- Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ: LBTYA) raised to Conviction Buy List at Goldman;
- Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch and at Canaccord Genuity;
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) reinstated as ‘neutral’ at Jefferies; and
- Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- PriceSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) is down 1.8% at $89.98;
- Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) is down 1% at $71.63 even after reporting better sales in China<<LINK>>; and
- SemiLEDS Corp. (NASDAQ: LEDS) is down 14.6% at $1.40.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) is down 9.9% at $2.56. The consumer electronics retailer has put out a call for help fixing its finances, and the company’s bond yields soared to more than 14%.
Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD) is up 11.8% at $67.83. The gold miner is getting the largest boost among the gold miners from Bernanke’s comments last night.
Stay tuned for Friday. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
- 9:55 a.m. – Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index