Stocks got off to a good start this morning following the Labor Department’s report on non-farm payrolls, up slightly less than expected at 120,000 new jobs, and an unexpected drop in US unemployment from 9% to 8.6%. Also supporting prices this morning was news that the European Central Bank would lend 100-200 million euros to the IMF to hand out to debtor nations in the Eurozone. Gains peaked in the early morning and have remained up only modestly since about noon. The dollar strengthened against both the euro and the yen, keeping gains for both crude oil and gold at under 1%. Crude oil is trading at $100.83/barrel and gold is trading at $1,747.10/ounce just before today’s close.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down less than 1 point to 12,019.42 (-0.01%), the NASDAQ rose less than 1 point (0.03%) to 2,626.93, and the S&P 500 fell 0.02% or less than 1 point to 1,244.28. Folks, that’s flat!

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) raised to ‘buy’ at KeyBanc. Other ratings action Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) started as ‘hold’ at KeyBanc; Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Sina Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank; and Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES) cut to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup.

Here are today’s big post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading:
Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE: BIG) is down -8.6%% at $36.34; Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) is up 23.9% at $28.95; Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) is up 3.4% at $47.82; and Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE: BNS) is down -3.1% at $48.08.

Several other standouts from today are as follows…

YRC Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: YRCWD) is up 29.7% at $12.61. The freight hauler concluded a 1-for-300 reverse split that drove the share price to $9 from $0.03.

Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) is up about 7% at $31.30. The computer disk drive maker announced that it was resuming operations at one of its flooded Thai plants and raised its revenue estimate for the current quarter. More details here.

Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) is down about -9.6% at $16.79. The smartphone and tablet maker announced an inventory writedown of $485 million for unsold PlayBook tablets and said that full-year earnings would be lower. Detailed coverage here.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC) is down more than -10% at $4.20. The health care facilities operator likely is suffering from a lowered target price from BMO Capital Markets with rating of ‘market perform’.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) is down nearly -7% at $1.74. The solar PV maker is likely giving back gains made over the past two days. The was little reason for the gain in the first place, so that investors are taking it back should be no surprise.

Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted a speech due from Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans and short-term Treasury bill auctions in the morning. Here are other noteworthy events scheduled for Monday (all times Eastern):

  • 10:00 a.m. – Census Bureau factory orders report
  • 10:00 a.m. – Industrial Supply Management non-manufacturing index

Have a great weekend.

Paul Ausick

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