24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- May 25, 2012 (EBAY, LULU, SI, CRM, FSLR, CRMT, MENT, POST, FRO, AMSC, DRYS, KUTV, SAFM, SHIP, GAME, TLB, PAY, FB)

Today’s edition of the Closing Bell is being published shortly after 2:00 p.m. US markets are closed Monday to observe the Memorial Day holiday. We’ll resume our normal schedule next Tuesday.

The three major US stock indexes opened marginally higher this morning as more European countries come out in support of a eurobond, a proposal Germany has flatly declined to discuss. The impasse weighed on European markets and the weight crossed the Atlantic when US markets opened today. The only new data point in the US today was better-than-expected reading on Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index (our coverage here). The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.07% at 82.406. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 618.78, with commodities prices mixed. WTI crude oil is trading up 0.12% at $90.77/barrel, and Brent crude trades up 0.31% at $106.88/barrel. Natural gas fell -4.4% today to $2.53/thousand cubic feet. Gold is trading up 0.52% today, at $1,567.90/ounce.

At 2:00 p.m. ET, the DJIA is down about 45 points at 12,484.68 (-0.36%), the NASDAQ is up more than 3 points (0.12%) at 2,842.72, and the S&P 500 is down -0.02% or less than 1 point at 1,320.43.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Ebay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) maintained as ‘buy’ with a target price of $44 at BofA/ML; Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) cut to ‘hold’ at KeyBanc; Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank; (NYSE: CRM) raised to ‘outperform’ at Oppenheimer; and First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) maintained as ‘buy’ with a target price of $30 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: America’s Car-Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: CRMT) is down -7.8% at $41.52; Mentor Graphics Inc. (NASDAQ: MENT) is down -12.7% at $13.28; Post Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POST) is up 6.8% at $29.89; and Frontline Ltd. (NYSE: FRO) is up 8.8% at $5.42.

On Tuesday, we are scheduled to get earnings reports from American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSC), DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS), Ku6 Media Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: KUTV), Sanderson Farms Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM), Seanergy Maritime Holdings Group Corp. (NASDAQ: SHIP), and Shanda Games Ltd. (NASDAQ: GAME).

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

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

The Talbots Inc. (NYSE: TLB) is down -38.9% at $1.57. The clothing retailer failed to reach a deal with a potential private equity buyer.

Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) is down -15% at $38.27. The electronic payment systems company forecast a weaker-than-expected third quarter.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is down -3.8% at $31.78. The social network company continues to seek a floor for its stock price.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. US markets are closed Monday to observe the Memorial Day holiday. We have also noted the following events on the schedule for Tuesday (all times Eastern):

  • 9:00 a.m. – S&P Case-Schiller housing price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer confidence survey
  • 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auction

Have a great long weekend.

Paul Ausick

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