All three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning, and spent the rest of the day bouncing around the neutral line. The reports from retailers on same-store sales in January were mixed, but overall sales failed to meet expectations. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke testified in Congress today, but did not really give the market much of a push one way or the other. The IPO filing from Facebook after markets closed last night pushed some social media stocks up on a halo effect. WTI crude oil is down 1% at $96.63/barrel and Brent crude is up 0.78% at $112.43/barrel. Gold closed up 0.67% at $1,761.30/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 11 points to 12,705.41 (-0.09%), the NASDAQ rose more than 11 points (0.4%) to 2,859.68, and the S&P 500 rose 0.11% or nearly 1.5 points to 1,325.54.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan; Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) cut to ‘underperform’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) started as ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is up nearly 24% at $66.30; Education Management Corp. (NASDAQ: EDMC) is down -17% at $21.19; Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) is down -0.6% at $24.62; Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) is up 2.2% at $60.88 after posting a new 52-week high of $61.93 earlier today; Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH) is up 3.2% at $3.27; Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) is down -3.9% at $5.85; Brinks Co. (NYSE: BCO) is down -17.5% at $24.43; Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO) is up 0.35% at $63.29; Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) is down -1.2% at $42.48; Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) is down -0.3% at $38.51; Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) is down -0.3% at $15.71; and Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) is down -0.9% at $46.53.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is up nearly 18% at $12.49 after posting a new post-IPO high of $12.91 earlier today. The social games company got a big boost from Facebook’s IPO filing. Our coverage is here.

MediciNova Inc. (NASDAQ: MNOV) is up nearly 31% at $2.47. The company received a favorable patent notice for a multiple sclerosis treatment device.

Response Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: RGDX) is up more than 27% at $1.50. The drug maker announced the private placement of about 5.3 million shares at $1.50/share, about 28% higher than last night’s closing price.

BioScrip Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOS) is up more than 15% at $6.73. The pharmacy services provider has sold a portion of its assets to Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) for $225 million.

Ur-Energy Inc. (AMEX: URG) is down more than -13% at $1.22. The uranium miner has issued 1.5 million shares of new stock to agents who will attempt to sell at CDN$1.00.

Stay tuned for Friday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Non-farm payroll report
  • 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
  • 10:00 a.m. – ISM non-manufacturing (services) index

Paul Ausick

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