The three major US stock indexes opened sharply lower this morning on weak PMI reports from Europe and even weaker news on US employment (our coverage here). The US ISM manufacturing index fell more than expected and US construction spending rose less than expected (more coverage here). The SPX Volatility Index hit a 2012 high of 26.67 in mid-afternoon. Shares look set to close today down more than -2%.
The US dollar index slipped today, now down -0.25% at 82.833. The GSCI commodity index is down about -1.2% at 596.20, with commodities prices generally lower on the weak economic news. WTI crude oil closed down -1.5% at $83.23/barrel, ending the week down -8%. Brent crude trades down -3.1% at $98.70/barrel (more coverage here). Natural gas fell -3.9% today to $2.33/thousand cubic feet. Gold was today’s big winner, settling up 3.7% today, at $1,622.10/ounce, for the yellow metal’s biggest single-day jump since last August.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 276 points to 12,117.05 (-2.23%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 80 points (-2.82%) to 2,747.48, and the S&P 500 fell -2.47% or more than 32 points to 1,278.03.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) started as ‘outperform’ at R.W. Baird, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) cut to ‘hold’ at Jefferies; Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) raised to ‘buy’ at Nomura and started as ‘outperform’ at RBC; Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan; and The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) raised to the ‘Conviction Buy’ list at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have been scarce, but here are some price changes for reporting companies as of the last half hour of trading today: China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Ltd. (NYSE: MY) is down -6.2% at $1.36; OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI) is down -19.1% at $13.09; RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD) is down -5.5% at $11.31; and Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) is down -8.9% at $19.93 after posting a new 52-week low of $19.52 earlier today.
On Monday, we are scheduled to get earnings reports from American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSC), Chimera Investment Corp. (NYSE: CIM), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG), Shanda Games Ltd. (NASDAQ: GAME), and Conn’s Inc. (NASDAQ: CONN).
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) is down -15.3% at $27.58 after posting a new post-IPO low of $27.31 earlier today. The data analytics company posted its first report as a public company, and beat estimates on revenues and the size of the EPS loss. Even the forecast for the current quarter and the full year beat estimates. Some days you just can’t win.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule for Tuesday (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!
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