The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning as investors wait for weekend data on Chinese trade and industrial production. The drop in US unemployment benefits claims didn’t spur much buying, nor did news of the smaller US trade deficit in April. Trading volume has been light today, with just 400 million shares trading hands on the NYSE. Going into the last hour of trading the DJIA is up about 0.5%, the Nasdaq is up about 0.6%, and the S&P 500 is up about 0.8%, and all finished the day higher by less than 1%.
The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.55% at 82.506. The GSCI commodity index is fractionally at 592.05, with commodities prices mostly lower today on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down -0.9%% at $84.10/barrel. Brent crude trades down -0.24% at $99.69/barrel. Natural gas rose about 1.1% today to $2.299/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.2% today, at $1,591.40/ounce, but took a weekly loss of about -2%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 93 points to 12,553.97(0.75%), the NASDAQ rose more than 27 points (0.97%) to 2,858.42, and the S&P 500 rose 0.81% or nearly 11 points to 1,325.63.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) started as ‘buy’ at Citigroup; SandRidge Energy Inc. (NYSE: SD) started as ‘outperform’ at RBC Capital; Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $80 at Argus; Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley; and Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) cut from ‘neutral’ to ‘sell’ at Citigroup.
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: Exide Technologies (NASDAQ: XIDE) is up 16.3% at $2.85; Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. (NYSE: PNY) is up 0.3% at $31.71; Ferrellgas Partners LP (NYSE: FGP) is up 6.9% at $17.25; and KMG Chemicals Inc. (NASDAQ: KMGB) is down -2% at $16.91.
As we approach the quarter’s end there are fewer and fewer notable earnings reports scheduled. Next week we are scheduled to get earnings reports from Finisar Corp. (NASDAQ: FNSR), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS), Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR), and Winnebago Industries Inc. (NYSE: WGO).
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) is down -9.5% at $1.68. The coal miner took the biggest share price hit today following news that Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is closing some mines. More coverage here.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is up 5.7% at $2.99. The Finnish handset company was rumored to be the target of a possible takeover by Samsung Electronics. More coverage here.
Navistar International Inc. (NYSE: NAV) is up 16.6% at $28.10. The commercial truck and engine maker got a boost from an increased investment by Carl Icahn, who now owns 12% of the company.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is 2.7% at $18.33. The natural gas producer sold $4 billion in assets today (coverage here) and stockholders rejected two current directors by a wide margin at today’s shareholders’ meeting (more coverage here).
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following event (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!