24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (AIXG, AZN, HON, HUM, PAA, ALU, FTEK, IRDM, XIDE, WMS, JRCC, PKT, RJET, OPXA, DYN, TRGT, MSSR, SZYM)

November 8, 2011 by Paul Ausick

Equities started the day with a solid move up, but lost momentum after about half an hour. The downward move lasted into the late morning, at which time stocks started a fitful climb back up. There was no big news to speak of, although the Italian prime minister lost a budget vote which may lead to vote of confidence in his leadership. Crude oil is up about $0.75/barrel and gold is up about $6.40/ounce, to near $1,800/ounce. Commodities are mostly higher as the dollar weakened. Stocks finished the day near session highs.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 101 points to 12,170.18 (0.84%), the NASDAQ rose more than 32 points (1.2%) to 2,727.49, and the S&P 500 rose 1.17% or more than 14 points to 1,275.93.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Aixtron SE (NASDAQ: AIXG), which we noted in our story on LED lighting this morning and was raised to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley. Other changes included AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $95 at Argus; Plains All-America Pipeline L.P. (NYSE: PAA) raised to ‘buy’ at Wells Fargo; and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/ML.

Here are today’s big post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FTEK) is up about 22%, at $6.63; Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) is up nearly 16%, at $7.34; Exide Technologies (NASDAQ: XIDE) is down more than -32%, at $3.04, after posting a new 52-week low of $2.98 earlier today; WMS Industries Inc. (NYSE: WMS) is down nearly -17%, at $18.25; James River Coal Corp. (NASDAQ: JRCC) is down nearly -9%, at $9.45; and Procera Networks, Inc. (AMEX: PKT) is up nearly 21%, at $14.31, after posting a new 52-week high earlier today of $14.38.

Several other standouts from today are as follows…

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: RJET)  is up more than 57%, at $4.24. The company said that it is looking at selling or spinning off its Frontier Airlines unit.

Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPXA) is up nearly 33%, to $1.37. The company announced that its drug treatment for multiple sclerosis has received the Fast Track designation from the FDA.

Dynegy Inc. (NYSE: DYN) is up more than 28%, at $3.79. The utility company has said that several of its units have filed for bankruptcy. We covered the unusual bankruptcy boost in more detail earlier today.

Targacept, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRGT) is down nearly -59%, at $7.75, a new 52-week low. The company announced this morning that its anti-depressant drug failed a recent first phase trial.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: MSSR) is up more than 27%, at $8.65. The company has accepted a buyout offer of $8.75/share in cash from Landry’s Inc.

Solazyme, Inc. (NASDAQ: SZYM) is up more than 17%, at $10.98. The company has signed tentative contracts for 90% of its feedstock through 2015. We covered potential upside in the biofuel sector earlier this week.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is giving a speech in the morning and Federal Reserve governor Daniel Tarullo gives a speech in the afternoon. We have noted the following events (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 9:30 a.m. – Wholesale trade report
  • 10:30 p.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 1:00 p.m. – US Treasury 10-year note auction
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Paul Ausick