The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following European markets where equities also traded lower this morning. US data related to retail sales (our coverage here) and producer prices were somewhat weaker than expected, which also weighed on traders this morning. The US financial services sector helped lift the market following a Congressional appearance byJamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) (our coverage here).
The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.44% at 82.064. The GSCI commodity index is down fractionally at 581.02, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down -0.2% at $83.14/barrel. Brent crude trades down -0.11% at $97.03/barrel. Natural gas rose fell 2% today to $2.186/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.4%, at $1,619.40/ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 79 points to 12,495.02 (-0.63%), the NASDAQ fell more than 24 points (-0.86%) to 2,818.61, and the S&P 500 fell -0.70% or more than 9 points to 1,314.87.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $670 at Argus; Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein; Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan, raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies, and raised to ‘outperform’ at Raymond James; McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs; and PetSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) started as ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
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: Casey’s General Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY) is down -12.6% at $52.35; Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. (NASDAQ: OSH) is up 0.6% at $16.02; and Coffee Holding Company Inc. (NASDAQ: JVA) is down -15.5% at $6.15 after posting a new 52-week low of $6.00 earlier today. Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY) and Luby’s Inc. (NYSE: LUB) report quarterly earnings after the markets close today.
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) is up 2% at $8.04 after posting a new 52-week high of $8.65 earlier today. The drug maker’s shares are rising in anticipation of a decision on a weight-loss drug. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following events (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 1:00 p.m. – 30-year note auction
- 4:30 p.m. – Federal Reserve balance sheet and money supply