24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (AMZN, APOL, HFC, LVS, VZ, MOS, RHT, SN, SHAW, BBY, MY, RIMM, FINL, PHM, CHTP, MM)

Markets opened lower this morning but fought back on the day.  This morning’s report new unemployment benefits claims tamped down enthusiasm among investors (our coverage here). US natural gas inventories rose much more than expected (our coverage here) and a promise from the IEA to be ready with another release from national strategic oil reserves hit energy stocks hard (more coverage here). The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.08% at 79.186. Commodities were virtually all lower on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down about -2.5% at $102.78/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -1.51% at $122.28/barrel. Gold settled down -0.3% today, at $1,652.20/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 20 points to 13,145.51, the NASDAQ fell by 9.6 points to 3,095.36, and the S&P 500 fell 2.29 to 1,403.26.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) started as ‘buy’ at ThinkEquity; Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) reiterated as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $65-$67 at BofA/ML; and Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) cut to ‘neutral’ at Baird.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) is down -4.7% at $55.49; Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) is up 18.7% at $61.02 after posting a new 52-week high of $61.37 earlier today (more coverage here); Sanchez Energy Corp. (NYSE: SN) is down -2.5% at $22.01; Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SHAW) is up 3.9% at 32.05; and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is down -6.6% at $24.86 (more coverage here). After markets close today China Ming Yang Power Group Ltd. (NYSE: MY), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) (our coverage here), and Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) will report earnings.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) is down -2.5% at $9.24. The homebuilder was downgraded to ‘strong sell’ at S&P Capital IQ. More coverage here.

Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHTP) is down more than -28% at $2.63. The FDA rejected the company’s low blood pressure drug. More coverage here.

Millennial Media Inc. (NYSE: MM) concluded its IPO today at $24.74, up from the initial price of $13/share. Shares traded as high as $27.90 earlier in the day. More coverage of the recent IPO market here.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – Personal income and spending report
  • 9:45 a.m. – Chicago purchasing managers’ index
  • 9:55 a.m. – Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index

Paul Ausick

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