Equities fell sharply after this morning’s opening. Futures were soft prior to the opening bell due largely to continue to worry about Europe and a forecast cut to the European Central Bank’s lending rate from 1.25% to 1%. The mid-morning report on US crude oil stocks put a halt to any thought of a crude price rise, with US inventories growing by 1.3 million barrels following a 3.9 million barrel increase the week before. WTI is trading down almost $1, at $100.30/barrel late in the day, and Brent is trading at $109.45/barrel, down more than $1.35. Gold is up nearly 0.75%, at $1,744.60.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 45 points to 12,195.61 (0.37%), the NASDAQ fell less than 1 point (-0.01%) to 2,649.21, and the S&P 500 rose 0.20% or more than 2 points to 1,261.02.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) started as ‘buy’ with a $725 target price at Canaccord Genuity. Other ratings actions today include JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) started as ‘buy’ with a $14.75 target price at Jefferies; Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) cut to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ at Argus; Chubb Corp. (NYSE: CB) started as ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; and LinkedIn Corp. (NASDAQ: LNKD) started as ‘buy’ with an $85 target price at Canaccord Genuity.

Here are today’s post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: SAIC Inc. (NYSE: SAI) is up 6.5% at $12.95; Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) is down about -1.5% at $36.62; Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) is up slightly less than -1% at $45.48; Village Super Market Inc. (NASDAQ: VLGEA) is down more than -3.8% at $30.49; and The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. (NYSE: MW) is up more than 20% at $32.68.

Several other standouts from today are as follows…

The Talbots Inc. (NYSE: TLB) is up about 65% at $2.58. The women’s clothing store has received a takeover offer from private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $3.00/share, a 92% premium to the stock’s closing price yesterday.

The McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI) is up more than 52%, at $1.80. The newspaper company said that advertising rates have not fallen as badly in the first two months of the current quarter. For the first nine months of this year ad revenue declined -10%, compared with a decline of -5.6% in October and November.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is up more than 32%, to $4.12. Retailer J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) acquired a 16.6% stake in the lifestyle and media company today for $3.50/share, or $38.5 million. More coverage here.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is up more than 4.6%, at 48.26. The company sold its 550-megawatt Topaz solar PV plant to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) for an undisclosed sum. The plant had previously been valued at more than $2 billion. More coverage here.

Jaguar Mining Inc. (NYSE: JAG) is down -9.6%, at $6.55. The junior gold miner said yesterday that its founding CEO had resigned.

Great Basin Gold Ltd. (AMEX: GBG) is up about 17.8%, at $1.19. Another junior gold miner, Great Basin has finalized a $150 million term credit facility for 5 years at a rate 4% above LIBOR.

Stay tuned for Thursday. Here are some noteworthy events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – New US unemployment claims report
  • 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade report
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas status report
  • 4:30 p.m. – Federal Reserve balance sheet
  • 4:30 p.m. – Money supply report

Paul Ausick

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor:

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.