July 22, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning with the DJIA dipping on a poor earnings report from McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD). There was no economic data release of note in Europe today. In Asia, Hong Kong CPI came in as expected, up 4.1% year-over-year. The election sweep in Japan helped boost Asian markets today. In the U.S., the Chicago Fed’s national activity index improved slightly and existing home sales fell nearly 2%. The S&P 500 posted an intra-day high earlier today.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.45% today, now at 82.2230. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.1% at 650.66. WTI crude oil closed down 1.1% today, at $106.91 a barrel, closing out the trade in August futures. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $108.22 a barrel. Natural gas is down 3% today at about $3.68 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 3.3% today at $1,336.00 an ounce, the yellow metal’s biggest one-day gain in more than a year.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 2 points to 15,545.62 (0.01%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 13 points (0.36%) to 3,600.39, and the S&P 500 rose 0.20% or more than 3 points to 1,695.53.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) cut to ‘underperform’ at Oppenheimer;
- General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) reiterated as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $28 at Argus;
- Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) cut to ‘neutral’ at Wedbush;
- VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) cut to ‘neutral’ and price target raised to $208 at Credit Suisse; and
- Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $90 at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in some prices move today:
- Federal-Mogul Corp. (NASDAQ: FDML) is up 29.4% at $13.82;
- Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is down 1.9% at $25.85 on a weak outlook;
- Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is down 2% at $44.94 as a result of North American worries;
- Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) is down 1.9% at $97.63; and
- McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is down 2.8% at $97.53 as weak earnings may signal a peak in fast food sales.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) is up 6.6% at $17.65. The gold miner’s stock is up on the sharp upward move in gold prices today.
Tower International Inc. (NYSE: TOWR) is down 13.6% at $19.87. The industrial maker of auto body parts will hold a secondary offering of 6 million shares for the benefit of its parent company.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. – FHFA house price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing index
- 11:30 a.m. 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. – 2-year note auction