Investing

24/7 Closing Bell (BP, DRYS, STX, PETM, BHP, F, MCD, GE, CMG, FSL, APKT, CALX, GMCR, PCYO, SYNA, RCON)

A raft of good earnings reports pushed the markets higher at opening this morning, sending the Dow Industrials up about 200 points at mid-day. For some reason traders are hopeful that this weekend’s meeting between the leaders of France and Germany will lead to a resolution of the banking crisis in Europe. Equities also got a boost from a Federal Reserve governor who said that the Fed should try to push mortgage rates even lower with large-scale purchases of mortgage-backed securities. President Obama announced that nearly all US troops would be out of Iraq by the end of this year, giving the markets another late afternoon boost.The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 267 points to 11,808.87 (2.31%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 39 points (1.49%) to 2,637.46, and the S&P 500 rose 1.88% or nearly 23 points to 1,238.23.There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including a ‘neutral’ start for BP plc (NYSE: BP) at Nomura. DryShips, Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS) was started as ‘equal-weight’ at Barclays, and disk drive maker Seagate Technology LLC (NYSE: STX) was raised to ‘outperform’ at Baird and to ‘buy’ at ThinkEquity. Wells Fargo cut PetSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) to ‘market perform’. Mining giant BHP Billiton plc (NYSE: BHP) was cut to ‘hold’ at SocGen and to ‘neutral’ at HSBC. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) received a debt upgrade to ‘BB+’ from S&P, which could mean that a dividend
is on its way from the automaker.

Here are today’s big post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is up almost 3.5% at $92.09, after hitting new 52-week high of $92.12 earlier in the day; General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is down about -2.2%, at $16.26;  Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is up 7.25%, at $331.00; Freescale Semiconductor Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: FSL) is down about -2% at $11.89; Acme Packet, Inc. (NASDAQ: APKT) fell more than -20% and is trading at $30.37; and Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) is down nearly -19% at $6.82, after posting a new 52-week low earlier today of $6.39.

Several other standouts from today include …

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) began the day up about 5% following some harsh words from David Einhorn. The stock is finishing the day up about 1.5%, at $69.01, after dropping nearly -30% since the beginning of the week.

Pure Cycle Corp. (NASDAQ: PCYO) is up more than 27%, to $2.37, after several down trading sessions.

Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA) is up more than 19%, to $32.18, after posting a new 52-week high earlier today. The company has nearly completed its transition to a maker of chips for touchscreens, a much higher margin business than its touchpad chips.

Recon Technology Ltd. (NASDAQ: RCON) is down more than -5%, at $0.97, after getting a letter from Nasdaq for failing to file an annual report.

Stay tuned for Monday.  We have the National Activity Index from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank at 8:30 a.m. and a speech from Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher at 9:00 a.m.  The US Treasury has also scheduled three short-term T-bill auctions for late morning.

Paul Ausick