Markets opened nearly flat this morning but took a dive early and have muddled along the rest of the day in negative territory. This morning’s report on falling durable goods orders got things off on the wrong foot (our coverage here). The US crude oil commercial inventory grew by a larger-than-expected amount, pushing crude prices down significantly (our coverage here). The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.12% at 79.140. Commodities were mostly lower on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down about -1.9% at $105.41/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -1.09% at $124.17/barrel. Gold settled down -1.6% today, at $1,657.90/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 72 points to 13,126.06 (-0.54%), the NASDAQ fell more than 15 points (-0.49%) to 3,104.96, and the S&P 500 fell -0.49% or nearly 7 points to 1,405.54.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including DirecTV Inc. (NASDAQ: DTV) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup and reiterated as ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity; Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) started as ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) cut to ‘sector perform’ at RBC; Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) started as ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; and Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) raised to ‘market perform’ at JMP Securities.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Christopher & Banks Corp. (NYSE: CBK) is down -13% at $2.05 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.85 earlier today; Synnex Corp. (NYSE: SNX) is down -13% at $37.94 (more coverage here); Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) is up 0.6% at $58.58 (more coverage here); and Jos. A. Banks Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) is down -8.7% at $49.77 (more coverage here). After markets close today the Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), and Sanchez Energy Corp. (NYSE: SN) will report earnings. Before the markets open in the morning, we’ll get earnings from Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SHAW).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Commercial Metals Corp. (NYSE: CMC) is up 0.49%. The steel and metal fabricator posted better-than-expected earnings this morning. More coverage here.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AMLN) is up more than 53%. The drug maker rejected a takeover bid. More coverage here.

Vermillion Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML) is up 19%. The drug maker received a patent approval today. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – New unemployment benefits claims
  • 8:30 a.m. – Corporate profits
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA natural gas storage report
  • 11:00 a.m. – Kansas City Fed manufacturing index

Paul Ausick

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