Stocks opened down this morning following on weakness in Europe following the G20’s refusal to provide additional funding to the IMF. But at the end of the first hour of trading, a good report on pending US home sales seemed to tip traders to the buy side. With about half an hour to go today, all major indexes are higher and the DJIA looks set to close above 13,000. Crude oil was lower today with WTI crude finished lower by -1.1% at $108.56/barrel, and Brent crude is trading down -1.06% at $124.14/barrel. Gold settled down -0.1% at $1,774.90/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 1.5 points to 12,981.51 (-0.01%), the NASDAQ rose more than 2 points (0.08%) to 2,966.16 and the S&P 500 rose 0.14% or nearly 2 points to 1,367.59.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Sears Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) maintained as ‘underperform’ at Credit Suisse; Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (NYSE: IPG) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank; Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (NASDAQ: DNKN) started as ‘buy’ at Citgroup; American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; and United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) started as ‘buy’ at Citigroup.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: The AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) is down -0.51% at $13.73; Balchem Corp. (NASDAQ: BCPC) is down about -17% at $29.52 after posting a new 52-week low of $29.35 earlier; Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) is up 0.2% at $63.55 after posting a new 52-week high of $64.39 earlier this morning; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB) is up nearly 14% at $17.81; El Paso Corp. (NYSE: EP) is up 1.8% at $27.65, a new 52-week high; Lowes Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is up 0.83% at $27.39; Quicksilver Resources Inc. (NYSE: KWK) is down -5.8% at $5.73; Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) is up 5.34% at $53.44; and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) is up 5.6% at $50.62.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

ATP Oil & Gas Corp. (NASDAQ: ATPG) is up nearly 20% at $8.63. The independent oil & gas company reported a fourth successful well at its Telemark Hub project.

Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. (AMEX: CQP) is up about 14% at $23.80 after posting a new 52-week high of $24.21 earlier. The liquefied natural gas company announced an investment from Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX). More coverage here.

Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ: DNDN) is down more than -20% at $11.83. The drug maker reported lower-than-expected revenues this morning. More coverage here.

Intermolecular Inc. (NASDAQ: IMI) is down more than -15% at $6.31 after posting a new 52-week low of $6.02. The semiconductor equipment and materials company’s stock is likely reacting to the bankruptcy filing by Japanese chipmaker Elpida.

Microvision Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS) is down more than -16% at $3.28. The laser display company reported very poor earnings this morning.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth Duke and Cleveland Fed president Sandra Pianalto are giving speeches. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Durable goods orders
  • 9:00 a.m. – S&P Case-Shiller housing price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer confidence index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing index
  • 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction

Paul Ausick

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