24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- June 5, 2012 (DG, MRVL, BRCD, CHSI, URI, JASO, UNFI, LAYN, HWD, HOV, MW, THO, WPRT, CAT, GRPN, FAST)

The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning, but only the DJIA remained negative until the afternoon. Economic news from Europe was mixed ahead of a G7 meeting related to Spain (our story here). Asian markets were higher yesterday, but not enough to really influence today’s US markets. The non-manufacturing PMI number was released after the US markets opened and provided a lift to equities (our story here). Financial stocks supported the market all day (our story here).

The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.34% at 82.837. The GSCI commodity index is up about 0.5% at 584.39, with commodities prices mixed. WTI crude oil closed up 0.4%% at $84.29/barrel. Brent crude trades down -0.06% at $98.79/barrel. Natural gas rose 1.3% today to $2.45/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.2% today, at $1,616.90/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 26 points to 12,127.88 (0.22%), the NASDAQ rose more than 18 points (0.66%) to 2,778.11, and the S&P 500 rose 0.57% or more than 7 points to 1,285.50.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Dollar General (NYSE: DG) reiterated as ‘buy’ at BMO Capital Markets; Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) raised to ‘market perform’ at JMP Securities; Brocade Communications (NASDAQ: BRCD) cut to ‘hold’ at ThinkEquity; Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSI) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; and United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) started as ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have been scarce, but here are some price changes for reporting companies as of the last half hour of trading today: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) is up 14.6% at $1.02; United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) is up 2.5% at $51.47 after posting a new 52-week high of $53.99 earlier today; Layne Christensen Co. (NASDAQ: LAYN) is up 3.4% at $19.23; and Dollar General is down -3.4% at $46.83.

On Wednesday, we are scheduled to get earnings reports from Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (NYSE: HWD), Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: HOV), Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO), and Men’s Wearhouse Inc. (NYSE: MW).

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Westport Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: WPRT) is up 20.5% at $26.84. The diesel engine technology company has entered a joint development deal with Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT). More coverage here.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is up 8.9% at $9.75. The online coupon provider had no news other than a positive analyst’s appraisal.

Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ: FAST) is down -10.4% at $38.86. The wholesale provider of industrial and construction supplies reported weak sales for May.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Altlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, San Francisco Fed President John Williams, and Fed Vice-Chair Janet Yellen are giving speeches. 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. – Productivity and costs data
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 2:00 p.m. – Beige book
  • 3:00 p.m. – Treasury STRIPS

Paul Ausick