The major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following dismal reports from Europe on manufacturing (our coverage here) and unemployment (more coverage here). The ADP report on US unemployment provided more gloomy news ahead of Friday’s official unemployment numbers (more coverage here). The US EIA petroleum inventory report helped push oil prices down (more coverage here), but the weak economic news ruled the day. Only the Nasdaq index has managed to pull into positive territory at all today, and that by less than 0.2% about an hour before closing. The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.39% at 79.130. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 687.61, with commodities mostly lower on the rising dollar. Chicago wheat fell more than -4.5% to post the biggest loss of the day. WTI crude oil closed down -0.9% at $105.22/barrel, and Brent crude trades down -1.23% at $1118.19/barrel. Gold settled down -0.5% today, at $1,654.00/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 11 points to 13,268.65 (-0.08%), the NASDAQ rose more than 9 points (0.31%) to 3,059.85, and the S&P 500 fell -0.25% or more than 3 points to 1,402.31.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) cut to ‘neutral’ at R.W. Baird; ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) cut to ‘underperform’ at BofA/ML and started as ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan; RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) raised to ‘buy’ at Auriga; STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs and raised to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup; and Assurant Inc. (NYSE: AIZ) cut to ‘underperform’ at BofA/ML.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) is down -2.8% at $39.30 (more coverage here); Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) is down -4.4% at $28.85; Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) is down -0.8% at $452.14; Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) is down -4.3% at $92.29; Yamana Gold Inc. (NYSE: AUY) is down -2.6% at $14.36; Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) is down -1.6% at $37.30; The Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) is down -3.3% at $67.74; Rowan Companies Inc. (NYSE: RDC) is up 1.3% at $34.97; R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. (NASDAQ: RRD) is down -7% at $11.79; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is down -1.2% at $3.41; and IAC/InterActiveCorp. (NASDAQ: IACI) is up 3.3% at $50.34 after posting a new 52-week high of $52.77 earlier today.

Tomorrow we get earnings from First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE: DSX), Corinthian Colleges Inc. (NASDAQ: COCO), Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA), Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: OWW), and Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) among many others.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Chesapeake Energy is down -13.5% at $16.95 after posting a new 52-week low of $15.86 earlier today. The natural gas producer reported weak results and more troubles for CEO Aubrey McClendon. More coverage here.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is down -1% at $30.29. The cable company reported good earnings this morning. More coverage here.

Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SVNT) is down -18.8% at $1.51. An analyst has said that the company insolvent. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Thursday. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams are speaking at a conference. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job cut report
  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 8:30 a.m. – Productivity and costs report
  • 10:00 a.m. – ISM non-manufacturing index
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 4:30 p.m. – Federal Reserve balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick

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