The US equity markets opened slightly higher this morning, but soon turned around and spent the rest of the morning lower before returning to about even by afternoon. Equities could close at or near where they opened today. The lack of a decision on the Greek debt swap deal is leading investors to exercise caution both in Europe and the US. If the new Greek deal is anything like the last dozen or so, it will send markets up as soon as it is announced; and once people have a chance to read the details, markets will turn south again. Crude is higher today, with WTI up 0.51% at $98.91/barrel and Brent up 1.24% at $117.67/barrel. Gold closed down -0.73% at $1,735.60/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 6 points to 12,883.95 (0.04%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 12 points (0.41%) to 2,915.86, and the S&P 500 rose 0.22% or about 3 points to 1,349.97.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs; Demand Media Inc. (NYSE: DMD) cut to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Annaly Capital Management Inc. (NYSE: NLY) cut to ‘market perform’ at FBR; Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) cut to ‘hold’ at Collins Stewart; and UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) cut to ‘sell’ at Deutsche Bank.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) is up 2.16% at $82.95; CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS) is up 1.18% at $43.59 after posting a new 52-week high of $44.08 earlier in the day; Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) is up 9.8% at $172.50 after posting a new 52-week high of $178.47 earlier today; Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) is down -1.35% at $39.57; Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) is up 0.3% at $38.21 after posting a new 52-week high of $39.23 earlier today; Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is up 0.95 at $41.34; Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: WYN) is up 5.6% at $43.22 after posting a new 52-week high of $43.36 earlier today; and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD) is up nearly 17% at $82.04 after posting a new 52-week high of $82.45 earlier today.

Our preview of tomorrow’s earnings releases is here. Also see our coverage of earnings for Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) due after markets close today

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Ceasars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) is up more than 70% at $15.32. The casino owner completed its IPO today, with 1.8 million shares going out at $9/share. We have some issues with this IPO.

FriendFinder Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFN) is up nearly 33% at $1.95. The adult dating site had no news today, so this must just be more halo effect from Facebook — or something else.

Teekay Tankers Ltd. (NYSE: TNK) is down more than -12% today at $3.98. The shipping company this morning priced a secondary stock offering of 15 million shares at $4/share.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is up about 2% at $34.33. The internet company acquired a Canadian company today, and reports earnings after markets close today. We have more coverage here.

NeuroMetrix Inc. (NASDAQ: NURO) is down more than -17% at $0.95 after posting a new 52-week low of $0.94 earlier today. The medical device maker priced a secondary offering of 10.5 million shares at $1/share this morning.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – New unemployment benefits claims
  • 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade report
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 1:00 p.m. – Treasury 30-year bond auction
  • 4:30 p.m. – Federal Reserve balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick