Markets opened lower today and of the three major indexes, only the S&P 500 was able to break through to positive territory and stay there for most of the day. The DJIA stayed negative all day and the NASDAQ composite only briefly broke through to a gain. This morning’s encouraging report on non-farm payrolls and a drop in the unemployment rate didn’t have much positive effect, but things would like have been worse without the job gains. Two speeches by Federal Reserve Bank presidents stressed that policymakers need to do more about raising employment, and the comments were couched in terms that might indicate that the Fed is looking at raising the inflation target. Crude oil prices are mixed, with WTI crude at down -0.25% at $101.56 and Brent crude up 0.34% at $113.12. Gold was up only slightly, closing at $1,617.70.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 56 points to 12,359.92 (-0.45%), the NASDAQ rose more than 4 points (0.16%) to 2,674.22, and the S&P 500 fell -0.25% or more than 3 points to 1,277.81.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) cut to ‘market perform’ at Wells Fargo; Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) reiterated as ‘outperform’ and target price raised to $60 at Credit Suisse; Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) raised to ‘buy’ at Sterne Agee; and FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) started as ‘outperform’ at Wells Fargo.

Earnings reports of note since markets closed yesterday include: Commercial Metals Co. (NYSE: CMC) is up more than 4% at $15.01; Apollo Group is up about 5.5% at $56.68, after posting a new 52-week high of $57.09 earlier today; Imperial Sugar Co. (NASDAQ: IPSU) is down nearly -6% at $3.32; PriceSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) is down nearly -15% at $60.13; Greenbrier Cos. (NYSE: GBX) is up nearly 9% at $25.97; and Texas Industries Inc. (NYSE: TXI) is down more than -3% at $28.15.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHC) is up nearly 19% at $11.60 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.81 earlier today. The healthcare services company agreed to pay $91 million to acquire three additional facilities in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is up nearly 12% at $7.16. The doughnut maker recently opened its 10,000th store and the stock was upgraded to ‘overweight’ at Stephens with a target price of $8.50.

RF Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: RFMD) is down more than -19% at $4.55 after posting a new 52-week low of $4.45 earlier today. The technology company warned that sales in the third fiscal quarter would be 10% lower than previously forecast.

EnerNOC Inc. (NASDAQ: ENOC) is down nearly -9% at $9.43. The energy services company’s revenues are threatened by a recent regulatory ruling.

Saba Software Inc. (NASDAQ: SABA) is up more than 15% at $8.54. The cloud software company lost less than expected in its most recent quarter and said that it would return to profitability in the second of the year.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: HOV) is up more than 10% at $1.73. The homebuilder’s stock is probably reacting to the remarks by two Fed presidents supporting additional lending and homebuilding.

Stay tuned for Monday. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is giving a speech. Here are the noteworthy events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions
  • 3:00 p.m. – Federal Reserve consumer credit report

Paul Ausick

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