The major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following some weak data on European unemployment. Buyers tried to come back but low volume so far has kept trading lower, and a last-minute rally seems to have gone nowhere. The dollar is stronger today, with the dollar index up 0.75% at 79.379. The stronger dollar is pushing some commodities down, with crude oil the hardest hit. WTI crude closed down -2% at $106.70/barrel and Brent crude is down -1.84% at $123.88/barrel. Gold settled down -0.7% at $1,709.80/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 3 points to12,977.57 (-0.02%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 13 points -0.43%) to 2,976.19, and the S&P 500 fell -0.32% or nearly 4.5 points to 1,369.63.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Travelers Companies (NYSE: TRV) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; Lowe’s Companies (NYSE: LOW) raised to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS) maintained as ‘buy’ with $15 target price at Argus; and Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) is down -4.2% at $42.61; Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) is up 4.2% at $73.58 after posting a new 52-week high of $74.89 earlier today; Biofuel Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: BIOF) is up 5.5% at $0.76; and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. (NASDAQ: BAGL) is up 3.6% at $14.99.

Here’s our preview of next week’s earnings announcements.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) is up nearly 64% at $24.55 following its IPO at $15/share this morning. Move coverage here.

Shutterfly Inc. (NASDAQ: SFLY) is up 16% at $31.22. The social networking company has struck a deal with Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ) to provide a stalking-horse bid for some of Kodak’s assets. More coverage here.

Vringo Inc. (AMEX: VRNG) is up more than 13% at $1.63. The social network app maker is probably getting a bump from the success of Yelp’s IPO.

U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc. (NASDAQ: PRTS) is down more than -19% at $4.00. The retail parts auto parts distributor missed consensus estimates last night. Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) is down more than -11% at $6.11 after posting a new 52-week low of $5.89 earlier this morning. The online discounter posted an unexpectedly quarterly loss this morning.

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

  • 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
  • 10:00 a.m. – ISM non-manufacturing index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auction

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

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