The major US stock indexes opened significantly higher this morning as investors were heartened by yesterday’s nationalization of Spain’s Bankia. The Bank of England also keps rates and asset purchases stable. This morning’s report on new US claims for unemployment benefits was in-line with expectations (our coverage here). US natural gas inventories rose last week, but the increase was also in-line with expectations (our coverage here).The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.01% at 80.077. The GSCI commodity index is down fractionally at 648.28, with commodities mostly higher on the small change in the dollar. WTI crude oil closed up 0.3% at $97.08/barrel and Brent crude trades down -0.37% at $112.78/barrel. Gold settled up 0.1% today, at $1,595.50/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly XX points to XXX (XX%), the NASDAQ rose more than XX points (XXX%) to XXX, and the S&P 500 rose XX% or nearly X points to XXX.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) cut to ‘hold’ at ThinkEquity; National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) maintained ‘buy’ with a lowered target price of $90 at Argus; 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein; Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA) cut to ‘hold’ at Needham; and JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: AMC Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: AMCX) is up 2.4% at $40.58; ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) is up 1.9% at $16.42; Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR) is down -1.6% at $5.71 after posting a new 52-week low of $5.44 earlier today; Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) is down -4.6% at $48.52; and Windstream Corp. (NASDAQ: WIN) is down -10.3% at $10.10 after posting a new 52-week low of $9.42 earlier today.

On Friday we are scheduled to get earnings from Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS), Jinkosolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS), Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA), Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR), ReneSola Ltd. (NYSE: SOL), and Uranium Resources Inc. (NASDAQ: URRE).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST) is up 9.2% at $71.34 in a 52-week range of $32.35-$83.96. The energy drinks company posted strong results, but buyout rumors continue to lead the charge. More coverage here.

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR) is down -24.3% at $2.46 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.41 earlier today. The solar component supplier posted bad results and a weak outlook. More coverage here.

We also took a detailed look today at short interest in a number of stocks — big names, volume leaders, and cult stocks.

Stay tuned for Friday. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
  • 9:55 a.m. – Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment

Paul Ausick

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor:

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.