August 19, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning as the Nasdaq eked out a positive start. The rocky start to the week is being attributed to rising 10-year Treasury yields which hit 2.87% before markets opened this morning. There was no notable U.S. economic data released today, and relatively little released elsewhere. In Asia, house prices rose 7.5% in China and Japan reported a higher-than-expected trade deficit. In Europe, Germany’s house price index slipped 0.3% month-over-month. The rising long-term interest rate kept stocks down today.
The U.S. dollar index is trading lower today, now down 0.04% at 81.2210. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.2% at 649.92. WTI crude oil closed down 0.36% today, at $107.10 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.4% at $119.91 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.7% today at about $3.46 per million BTUs. Gold for December delivery settled down 0.4% today at $1,365.70 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 71 points to15,010.74 (-0.47%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 14 points (-0.38%) to 3,589.09, and the S&P 500 fell -0.59% or nearly 10 points to 1,646.05.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) has been dropped from coverage by Oppenheimer;
- Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) raised to ‘neutral’ at Piper Jaffray;
- Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus;
- Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (NASDAQ: KALU) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $80 at Sterne Agee; and
- Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) raised to ‘overweight’ at J.P. Morgan.
The only earnings reports of note since last Friday came from Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) which is trading down 0.2% at $15.99.
Before markets open Tuesday morning we are scheduled to hear results from Perfect World Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: PWRD), Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN), Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) which announced a new video app today, Best Buy Co. Inc (NYSE: BBY) which is included in our preview of this week’s results from retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), and Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
GTX Inc. (NASDAQ: GTXI) is down 66.9% at $1.38 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.31 earlier today. The biopharmaceutical maker’s shares collapsed on news of a failed trial for its muscle drug.
Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR) is up 17.3% at $4.62. The independent oil & gas company received an upgrade today based on the belief that company can sell some of its foreign assets.
Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE: CIE) is down 14.3% at $25.18. The independent oil & gas company reported a dry hole in one of its Gulf of Mexico wells.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
8:30 a.m. – Chicago Fed national activity index
11:00 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions