Markets opened lower this morning but managed to recover fairly quickly following a report on robust manufacturing growth (our coverage here). The report on construction spending came in weaker than expected (our coverage here). The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.22% at 78.831. Commodities were mixed on the weaker dollar, with corn and soybeans rising and wheat falling. WTI crude oil closed up about 2.2% at $105.23/barrel, and Brent crude trades up 2.08% at $125.44/barrel. Gold settled up 0.5% today, at $1,679.70/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 52 points to 13,264.49 (0.40%), the NASDAQ rose more than 28 points (0.91%) to 3,119.70, and the S&P 500 rose 0.74% or more than 10 points to 1,418.89.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/ML; Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) cut to ‘sell’ at Stifel Nicolaus and cut to ‘neutral’ with a $20 target price at BofA/ML; Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) raised to ‘overweight’ at Barclays; Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS; and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) started as ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Digital Domain Media Group Inc. (NYSE: DDMG) is down -1.6% at $5.60; ClearOne Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CLRO) is down -5.4% at $4.26; and Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) is down -4.2% at $45.49. Before markets open tomorrow we’ll get earnings from Comverse Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: CMVT) and International Speedway Corp (NASDAQ: ISCA).
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is down more than -64% at $1.78 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.63 earlier. The drug company’s colorectal cancer treatment failed a trial. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Automakers will be reporting March sales throughout the day. San Francisco Fed President John Williams is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
- 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 4:30 – FOMC minutes released