US markets opened mixed this morning as there was not a big piece of news to drive investors in any particular direction. The Greek debt swap deal triggered a credit event and a payout to CDS holders last Friday (more coverage here) and new Greek bonds went on sale this morning a extraordinarily high yields (more coverage here). China reported a trade deficit last month, which weighed on Asia markets prior to this morning’s opening bell. Even the latest budget deficit report from the US Treasury didn’t get much of a reaction (more coverage here). Crude oil is lower today on the weak news from China, with WTI crude settling at $106.34/barrel, down -1%, and Brent crude trading at $125.38/barrel, down -0.5%. Gold settled at $1,699.80/ounce, down -0.7%, its first losing session following three straight winners.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 38 points to 12,959.71 (0.29%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 5 points (-0.16%) to 2,983.66, and the S&P 500 rose 0.02% or less than 1 point to 1,371.09.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) cut to ‘neutral’ at Janney Capital; Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) raised to ‘buy’ at Janney Capital; Pepsico Inc. (NYSE: PEP) reiterated as ‘buy’ at Gabelli; KB Home (NYSE: KBH) raised to ‘overweight’ at Barclays; and First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) maintained as ‘hold’ by target price cut to $30 at Canaccord Genuity.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Douglas Dynamics Inc. (NYSE: PLOW) is up 1.7% at $13.16; Fuel Cell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) is up 10% at $1.65; NN Inc. (NASDAQ: NNBR) is down -7.2% at $7.83; Velti plc (NASDAQ: VELT) is up 24.6% at $12.24; Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH) is up 2.4% at $8.41; Oil-Dri Corporation of America (NYSE: ODC) is up 1.6% at $20.25; and Middleby Corp. (NASDAQ: MIDD) is up 5% at $98.21 after posting a new 52-week high today of $101.72.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Tudou Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: TUDO) is up 155% at $39.26 after posting a new 52-week high of $42.81. The Chinese online video company is merging with competitor Youku Inc. (NYSE: YOKU). More coverage here.

Pacific Capital Bancorp (NASDAQ: PCBC) is up 57% at $45.03 after posting a new 52-week high of $45.45 earlier this morning. The bank holding company is being acquired by Union Bank for $1.5 billion ($46/share).

Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ANTH) is down more than -45% at $3.51 after posting a new 52-week low of $3.08 earlier this morning. The drug company has unexpectedly cancelled a heart drug trial because the drug does not work.

Tranzyme Inc. (NASDAQ: TZYM) is down nearly -42% at $2.98 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.68 earlier. The company’s bowel drug failed a phase III drug trial.

Clean Diesel Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: CDTI) is up about 64% at $5.09. The biofuel maker reported a net profit for the fourth quarter, where a net loss was expected.

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

  • 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Businesses small business confidence index
  • 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
  • 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction
  • 1:00 p.m. – 10-year Treasury note auction
  • 2:15 p.m. – Federal Reserve FOMC meeting announcement

Paul Ausick

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