24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- May 16, 2012

The three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning as investors appeared to be reacting to a temporarily stronger euro, which indicated some confidence in the Eurozone generally. But the dollar regained its lost ground by mid-morning and looks to be continuing a run of 12 straight stronger showings, something last seen more than a quarter century ago. US housing data was not encouraging either (more coverage here). The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.14% at 81.336. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 636.10, with commodities mostly higher today, defying the stronger dollar. Wheat was today’s big gainer. WTI crude oil closed down -1.2% at $92.81/barrel, it’s lowest close since November, and Brent crude trades down at -1.66% at $109.60/barrel. Gold settled down -1.3% today, at $1,536.60/ounce, the yellow metal’s lowest close since last July.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 33 points to 12,598.63 (-0.26%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 20 points (-0.68%) to 2,874.04, and the S&P 500 fell -0.44% or nearly 6 points to 1,324.81.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) raised to ‘overweight’ at Barclays; Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) cut to ‘market perform’ at FBR; Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) cut to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan; and SandRidge Energy Inc. (NYSE: SD) raised to ‘hold’ at Canaccord Genuity.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: 8×8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT) is down -1.5% at $3.86; Chico’s FAS Inc. (NYSE: CHS) is up 4.2% at $15.28; Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) is down -3.1% at $74.23 (more coverage here); Eagle Materials Inc. (NYSE: EXP) is down -5.2% at $33.13; LiveDeal Inc. (NASDAQ: LIVE) is up 5.9% at $6.14; and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is up 0.7% at $55.49 (more coverage here).

On Thursday we are scheduled to get earnings from Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT), Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc. (NASDAQ: DANG), GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Jinkosolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS), Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST), Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is down -19.2% at $26.92. The retailer absolutely failed on quarterly results. More coverage here.

Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (NASDAQ: ROSG) is up 263% at $5.88. The medical test making firm will have one of its tests covered by Medicare. There was also a 1-for-15 reverse stock split. More coverage here.

Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. (NYSE: ANF) is down -13.7% at $39.21 after posting a new 52-week low of $38.26 earlier today. The teen retailer badly missed estimates last night.

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):

  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey
  • 10:00 a.m. – E-commerce retail sales
  • 10:00 a.m. – Leading indicators
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick

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