24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- May 15, 2012

Two of the three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning as investors reacted to the news from Greece that no government could be formed and that a second election will be held next month. The news on German manufacturing was good (more coverage here) and US data was also mostly better, but not enough to deflect a weak opening. Equities moved higher later in the day, but overall the market looks set to close half a point lower than where it opened. The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.75% at 81.211. The GSCI commodity index is down about 1% at 639.40, with commodities mostly higher today, defying the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down -0.8% at $93.98/barrel and Brent crude trades up 0.65% at $112.30/barrel. Gold settled down -0.3% today, at $1,557.10/ounce, the yellow metal’s lowest close of the year to date (more coverage here).

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 63 points to 12,632.08 (-0.50%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 9 points (-0.30%) to 2,893.76, and the S&P 500 fell -0.57% or nearly 8 points to 1,330.66.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) cut to ‘hold’ at Needham; Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) raised to ‘buy’ at Argus; McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Cowen; and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) started as ‘buy’ at Citigroup.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN) is up 5.5% at $5.79; Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is up XX% at $XX; A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) is up 4.5% at $40.63; Arctic Cat Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAT) is down -10.6% at $37.84; Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is up 6.8% at $50.45 after posting a new 52-week high of $51.65 earlier today; Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) is down -0.5% at $10.00; TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) is up 7.1% at $42.50; Valspar Corp. (NYSE: VAL) is down -6.7% at $46.45, and The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is down -2.6% at $48.61 (more coverage here).

On Wednesday we are scheduled to get earnings from 8×8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Chico’s FAS Inc. (NYSE: CHS), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Facebook Inc. (soon to be NASDAQ: FB) raised its IPO price range from from $28-$35 to $34-$38. It is possible the world will regain its balance following the company’s IPO, expected for Friday. But maybe not.

Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) is down -18.8% at $3.92 after posting a new 52-week low of $3.91 earlier today. The coal miner lowered shipment and price expectations this morning. More coverage here.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is up 1.7% at $36.39. CEO Jamie Dimon dodged a bullet at today’s shareholder meeting and kept both his jobs.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 2:00 p.m. – FOMC minutes released

Paul Ausick

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