24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- May 24, 2012 (HPQ, ARMH, DUK, NOV, MET, FRED, HNZ, TIF, COST, TD, CRMT, MENT, POST, FRO, JDAS, NTAP, ROSG, P)

The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following a weak report on Chinese and German PMI readings (our coverage here and here). New US jobless benefits claims came in pretty much as expected and Kansas City Fed manufacturing data significantly beat estimates. Tech stocks soured the Nasdaq today and weighed on the other indexes as well. The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.27% at 82.318. The GSCI commodity index is down about 2% at 625.52, with commodities prices mixed. WTI crude oil closed up 0.9% at $90.66/barrel, staunching a two-day slide, and Brent crude trades up 0.92% at $106.53/barrel. Natural gas fell -3.3% today to $2.647/thousand cubic feet, following another inventory build (our coverage here). Gold settled up 0.6% today, at $1,557.60/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 34 points to 12,530.91 (0.27%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 11points (-0.38%) to 2,839.38, and the S&P 500 rose 0.14% or nearly 2 points to 1,320.73.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) maintained as ‘neutral’ but estimates raised at Credit Suisse; ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) raised to ‘buy’ at S&P; Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS; National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) raised to ‘buy’ at SocGen; and MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) raised to ‘buy’ with a target price of $46 at Argus.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Hewlett-Packard is up 3% at $21.72 (more coverage here); Fred’s Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) is down -2.5% at $14.05; H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ) is down -0.8% at $53.41; Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) is down -7.5% at $57.17 after posting a new 52-week low of $55.75 earlier today (more coverage here); Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is up 1% at $84.16 (more coverage here); and The Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD) is down -0.3% at $76.54.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to get earnings reports from America’s Car-Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: CRMT), Mentor Graphics Inc. (NASDAQ: MENT), Post Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POST), Frontline Ltd. (NYSE: FRO), and JDA Software Group Inc. (NASDAQ: JDAS).

We’ve also reviewed some potential value stocks among major oil companies, gold & silver miners, conglomerates, industrials, retail, and semiconductor stocks.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Rosetta Genomics Inc. (NASDAQ: ROSG) is up nearly 52% at $17.07. The medical device maker is still booming on last week’s announcement that treatment would be covered by Medicare.

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) is up 12.5% at $11.62. The Internet radio company reported better-than-expected results last night. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Friday. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

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

Paul Ausick

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