24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (FDX, BHP, INTC, TSLA, PNRA, MMR, AMTD, WFC, C, CHKP, KUTV, CNVO, VQ, RRD, CCL)

The markets opened higher this morning and all three major indexes have managed to hold onto most of their gains of the early morning. The S&P 500 index topped 1,300 for the first time since last summer, but hasn’t been able to remain at that level. The US dollar is trading weaker against the euro, but stronger against both the British pound and the Japanese yen. The dollar index is down a bit more than -0.5% at 81.071. Energy companies have done well today, even though natural gas prices have fallen below $2.50/thousand cubic feet. WTI crude oil is up nearly 2% at $100.62/barrel, while Brent crude is up only fractionally at $111.38/barrel. Gold is up more than 1% at $1,650.70.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 60 points to 12,482.22 (0.48%), the NASDAQ rose more than 17 points (0.64%) to 2,728.08, and the S&P 500 rose 0.35% or nearly 5 points to 1,293.66.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) cut to ‘hold’ at Jefferies; BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) started as ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) cut to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan; Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) raised to ‘buy’ at Wunderlich; and Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE: MMR) is up 4.55% at $13.32; TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) is down -1.72% at $16.02; Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is up 0.67% at $29.81; Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is down nearly -8% at $28.29; and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) is up nearly 8% at $54.93.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Ku6 Media Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: KUTV) is up nearly 154% at $3.50. The Chinese online video company has signed an agreement with Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) to offer international viewers a Chinese video channel on YouTube.

Convio Inc. (NASDAQ: CNVO) is up nearly 48% at $15.89, after setting a new 52-week high earlier. The provider of software to non-profit organizations has agreed to be acquired by Blackbaud Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB) for $16/share, or about $312 million.

Venoco Inc. (NYSE: VQ) is up nearly 31% at $10.05. The independent oil and gas company is being taken private by its CEO. We have more coverage here.

R.R. Donnelly & Sons Co. (NYSE: RRD) is down nearly -16% at $12.12 after posting a new 52-week low of $12.08 earlier. The business services company said revenues for 2011 are going to be lower than expected.

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) is down nearly -14% at $29.57. The cruise ship operator is sinking following the disaster off the Italian coast that has left 11 dead and 29 missing. We have more coverage here.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Federal Reserve Bank governor Daniel Tarullo is giving a speech. We have the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage applications
  • 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
  • 9:15 a.m. – Federal Reserve report on industrial production
  • 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index

Paul Ausick

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