24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (AEO, RAM, TSRX, WAG, SCG, BASI, CAMP, RAM, NOA, FAC, PHH, MJN, SFLY)

Today’s opening on equity markets lifted stocks slightly on mixed economic news. New home and durable goods sales rose more than expected, but personal income and spending didn’t meet expectations, with income growth at just 0.1% in November compared growth of 0.4% in October. The Santa Claus rally continued all day on very light volume. WTI crude oil is up about 0.3% at $99.83/barrel and Brent crude is up just 0.06% at $107.96. Gold continues to fall, down to $1,607.10, a drop of -0.22%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 125 points to 12,294.68 (1.03%), the NASDAQ rose more than 19 points (0.74%) to 2,618.64, and the S&P 500 rose 0.9% or more than 11 points to 1,265.31.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO) cut from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ at Standpoint Research; RAM Energy Resources Inc. (NYSE: RAM) raised from ‘market perform’ to ‘outperform’ at Rodman; Trius Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRX) started as ‘outperform’ at Robert W. Baird; Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) maintained as ‘hold’ with a lowered price target of $36 at Jefferies; and Scana Corp. (NYSE: SCG) maintained as ‘buy’ with raised price target of $43 at Wunderlich.

Here are today’s post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Bioanalytical Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BASI) is up more than 15% at $1.60 and CalAmp Corp. (NASDAQ: CAMP) is down more than -19% at $4.13. All told a light day for earnings reports.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

RAM Energy Resources Inc. (NASDAQ: RAM) is up nearly 21% at $2.43. The independent oil & gas company continues its run from yesterday, when if finished up more than 70% on news of re-listing on Nasdaq and a $550 million private equity investment.

North American Energy Partners Inc. (NYSE: NOA) is up more than 33% at $6.98. The oil field services company will resume its contract with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (NYSE: CNQ) pending a final contract signing.

First Acceptance Corp. (NYSE: FAC) is up nearly 33% at $1.36. A director of the insurance company bought 200,000 shares on Wednesday.

PHH Corp. (NYSE: PHH) is down more than -5% at $10.53. The mortgage servicer’s credit ratings were cut yesterday at S&P  and the fallout continues.

Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (NYSE: MJN) is down about -5.5% at $64.97. The food processing company had its Enfamil infant formula recalled at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) yesterday, and Walgreen’s, Safeway, Kroger, and Supervalu stores followed today.

Shutterfly Inc. (NASDAQ: SFLY) is down nearly -5% at $23.89. The Internet photo site cut its fourth-quarter guidance this morning.

Markets are closed Monday, December 26. Stay tuned for Tuesday. Here are the noteworthy events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 9:00 a.m. – S&P Case-Shiller housing price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer sentiment index
  • 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index

Have a Merry Christmas Day and great weekend.

Paul Ausick

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