Closing Bell for Wednesday on Wall Street: Markets Lower at Open, Lower at Close

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August 7, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning after more comments by Fed officials point toward a winding down of the central bank’s stimulus sooner rather than later. In Europe, the Bank of England said that it would maintain its low interest rate policy until the U.K.’s unemployment rate reaches 7%. The bank also raised its 2013 GDP growth forecast for the country from 1.2% to 1.5%. German industrial production jumped 2.4% in July, much higher than analysts’ expectation. There was no significant data from Asia today although the Nikkei closed down 4% as the yen gained strength against the dollar.

The U.S. dollar index is trading lower today, now down 0.40% at 81.2790. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.7% at 634.83. WTI crude oil closed down 0.9% today, at $104.37 a barrel, following this week’s inventory report from the EIA. Brent crude trades down 0.7% at $107.44 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.1% today at about $3.25 per million BTUs. Gold for December delivery settled up 0.2% today at $1,285.30 an ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 48 points to 15,470.67 (-0.31%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 12 points (-0.32%) to 3,654.01, and the S&P 500 fell -0.38% or more than 6 points to 1,690.91.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:

  • Endo Health Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: ENDP) cut to ‘sell’ at Janney;
  • Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) raised to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch;
  • Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) added to Conviction Buy List with an $86 price target at Goldman Sachs;
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) maintained as ‘buy’ with a new price target of $46 at Argus; and
  • CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CV) cut to ‘hold’ at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU), American Water Works Company Inc. (NYSE: AWK), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY), Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ), Dean Foods Inc. (NYSE: DF), Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL), Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ: LINE), Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD), and Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) is down 24% at $7.39. The solar wafer maker posted very weak results last night and the outlook was no better.

Opexa Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: OPXA) is up 131% at $2.95. The development drug company had no specific news, but did renew its commitment to working on a drug for multiple sclerosis.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is down 14% at $40.22. The solar panel maker badly missed expectations after-hours last night.

Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 1:00 p.m. – 30-year bond auction
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply
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