24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (AAPL, FSLR, VLO, TIF, C, CMA, GS, JNJ, MMR, GWW, YHOO, SYK, STX, URI, SRSL, ENOC, LEE)

Markets opened higher this morning and by late-morning equities were trading down about 1.5% across the board, where they have mostly remained for the rest of the day. An upbeat auction on short-term Spanish bonds and several positive earnings reports this morning led the market higher. China reported a sharp decline in foreign direct investment, but the impact on European and US markets was negligible. The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.11% at 79.467. The GSCI commodity index is down about -0.03% at 675.59, with most commodities gaining on the falling dollar. WTI crude oil closed up 1.2% at $104.20/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -0.06% at $118.61/barrel. Gold settled up 0.01% today, at $1,651.10/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 194 points to 13,115.54 (1.50%), the NASDAQ rose more than 54 points (1.82%) to 3,042.82, and the S&P 500 rose 1.55% or more than 21 points to 1,390.78.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) started as a ‘strong buy’ with a target price of $800 at Raymond James; First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) cut to ‘hold’ at Goldman Sachs; Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reiterated as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $37 at Credit Suisse; Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) started as ‘neutral’ at Macquarie; and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) reiterated as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $48 at Credit Suisse.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) is up 3.6% at $31.98; Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) is down about -1% at $116.59; Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is up 0.30% at $64.17; McMoRan Exploration Inc. (NYSE: MMR) is up 4% at $9.07; and W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW) is up 0.01% at $215.80;

After markets close today, we’ll hear from Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK), Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX), and United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

SRS Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SRSL) is up almost 37% at 9.38. The audio and voice technology company is being acquired by DTS for about $134 million.

EnerNOC Inc. (NASDAQ: ENOC) is up nearly 17% at $7.61. The smart metering company has a contract to provide natural gas metering services for 4,000 non-residential buildings in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.

Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) is down -12% at $1.15. The newspaper publisher posted a wider loss in its second fiscal quarter.

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

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers’ Association purchase applications
  • 10.30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report

Paul Ausick