Markets opened higher this morning following a lower-than-expected GDP growth estimate of 2.2%. That was weaker, but not awful (our coverage here). The consumer sentiment survey rose a couple of ticks in April, but Americans still believe the future will better than the present (our coverage here). The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.25% at 78.725. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.07% at 682.08, with commodities mostly higher on the slightly weaker dollar. WTI crude oil closed up 0.4% at $104.93/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -0.23% at $119.64/barrel. Gold settled up 0.3% today, at $1,664.80/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 24 points to 13,228.24 (0.18%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 19 points (0.61%) to 3,069.20, and the S&P 500 rose 0.24% or more than 3 points to 1,403.37.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $94 at Argus; SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) maintained as ‘neutral’ but target price cut at Credit Suisse; Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/ML, Nomura, and Goldman Sachs; and Alcatel-Lucent SA (NYSE: ALU) maintained as ‘underperform’ and estimates cut at Jefferies.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: is up 15.6% at $226.64; Callaway Golf Co. (NYSE: ELY) is down -14.9% at $5.94 (our coverage here); Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) is down -2.7% at $1.43; Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ: DECK) is down -25.5% at $51.78 after posting a new 52-week low of $51.03 (our coverage here); Weyerhaeuser Corp. (NYSE: WY) is down -0.3% at $20.81 (more coverage here); TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) is up 0.5% at $44.01; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: GT) is down -5.1% at $11.32; Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is down -4% at $64.18 (our coverage here); Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL) is up 3.6% at $18.61; Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) is down -0.2% at $38.38; Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ: HELE) is up 4.4% at $35.33; Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is down -2.1% at $11.62 (our coverage here); and Covidien plc (NYSE: COV) is up 0.5% at $55.32.

Be sure to look at our list of next week’s big earnings.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is up 0.2% at $106.44. The supermajor oil company reported earnings in line, but production was down. More coverage here.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX) is down -36% at $10.25 after posting a new 52-week low of $9.00. The healthcare services provider fired its chairman, and the list of woes goes on. More coverage here.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) is up 24.4% at $40.59. The Internet travel company posted better-than-expected quarterly results. More coverage here.

Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) is down -14.2% at $37.83. The disk drive maker had solid earnings, but worries abound about next quarter. More coverage here.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – Personal income and spending
  • 9:45 a.m. – Chicago PMI
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
  • 3:00 p.m. – Farm Prices

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

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