July 12, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened slightly higher this morning as European industrial production was below expectations and U.S. PPI was a bit higher than expected. The other major U.S. data point out today was the Thomson Reuters/UMich consumer sentiment index. In Asia, Japan’s industrial production came in better than expected, but the big news won’t be out til Monday when China releases what is expected to be a disappointing reading on the country’s second-quarter GDP. A downgrade of France’s sovereign debt kept afternoon trading stalled as well.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.30% today, now at 82.9980. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.4% at 641.56. WTI crude oil closed up 1% today, at $105.95 a barrel, and closed the week up 2.5%, and we wonder what price relief all that fracking brings. Brent crude trades up 1.1% at $108.82 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.9% today at about $3.65 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 0.2% today at $1,277.60, but closed the week up 5.4% for the largest weekly gain in nearly two years..
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 3 points to 15,464.07 (0.02%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 22 points (0.61%) to 3,600.08, and the S&P 500 rose 0.31% or about 5 points to 1,680.18, a record high.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank;
- Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) cut to ‘sell’ and price target lowered to $53 at Goldman Sachs;
- Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) cut to ‘hold’ at Jefferies;
- Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank; and
- F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) raised to ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is up 1.7% at $42.58 (our report), and
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is down 0.5% at $54.83 (our report).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) is up 9% at $6.85. The wireless carrier is celebrating its first day of new ownership — and so are investors.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is down 5.5% at $101.13 after posting a new 52-week high of $108.15 earlier today. The aerospace and defense giant is getting hammered for another fire in its 787 Dreamliner and a mechanical malfunction that forced another plane to return to its point of origin.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
- 8:30 a.m. – Empire State manufacturing survey
- 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!