Equities opened a little weaker this morning, but by 10:00 a.m. markets had turned slightly positive and have remained in positive territory for the rest of the day. The gain has not been huge, but it is a gain. The lack of enthusiasm from either buyers or sellers reflected the mood from European bourses as well. WTI crude oil rose 0.11%, to near $101.10 just before today’s close. Gold was off -0.02%, at $1,730.30/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 52 points to 12,150.13 (0.43%), the NASDAQ fell more than 6 points (-0.23%) to 2,649.56, and the S&P 500 rose 0.11% or nearly 5 points to 1,258.47.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) started as ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank. Other ratings action include Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a $44 price target at Argus; Tesoro Corp. (NYSE: TSO) cut from ‘outperform’ to ‘neutral’ with a $34 price target at Credit Suisse; LinkedIn Corp. (NASDAQ: LNKD) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan; and General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) raised to ‘outperform’ by Berstein.

Here are today’s post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (NYSE: CHKR) is up 0.7% at $19.94; Blyth, Inc. (NYSE: BTH) is down -0.05% at $66.33; Pep Boys-Manny, Joe, and Jack (NYSE: PBY) is down -5.5% at $11.21; Uranium Energy Corp. (AMEX: UEC) is up 0.66% at $3.06; AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) is down -0.12% at $338.56; Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) is down -12% at $41.95; Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL) is up nearly 3% at $21.37; and Liquidity Services Inc. (NASDAQ: LQDT) is up nearly 5.5% at $36.74, after posting a new 52-week high of $37.05 earlier in the day. Earnings releases coming after markets close today include Diamond Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND); SAIC Inc. (NYSE: SAI); and Vera Bradley Inc. (NYSE: VRA).

Several other standouts from today are as follows…

Frontline Ltd. (NYSE: FRO) is up more than 19%, to $4.23. The oil tanker company has been suffering from low day rates and lack of cargoes, but today’s injection of $500 million from a Norwegian bank controlled by the company’s major shareholder, John Fredriksen, has pumped up interest in the stock.

Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTIC) is up 14%, at $1.31. The drug-maker received notice from the FDA that its new drug application for a treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma is complete.

Comstock Resources Inc. (NYSE: CRK) is up nearly 15%, at $19.39. The oil & gas E&P company has acquired new acreage in the Delaware Basin of west Texas and reported that it had drilled five new producing wells in its Eagle Ford shale acreage.

Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) is down nearly -5%, at $2.52. The VoIP provider did not report any significant news, but the stock has been quite volatile over the past month.

Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) is up more than 9%, at $6.57. The miner benefited from today’s investors’ interest in gold mining stocks.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. We have noted Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin moderating a panel on grass-roots participation at Baltimore branch of Richmond Fed. Here are other noteworthy events scheduled for Tuesday (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 3:00 p.m. – Report on outstanding consumer credit

Paul Ausick

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