The three major US stock indexes opened slightly higher this morning as markets reacted to news of a cooperative effort by central banks to maintain liquidity in the world’s financial system (our coverage here). Weak reports on manufacturing (our coverage here) and on consumer sentiment (coverage here) did not significantly douse enthusiasm for equities. This weekend’s elections in Greece do not appear to be troubling investors now central bankers are engaged. Besides, the faltering US economy could always lead to another round of quantitative easing.
The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.44% at 81.631. The GSCI commodity index is up about 0.9% at 581.87, with commodities prices mixed again today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.1% at $84.03/barrel, virtually flat for the week. Brent crude trades up 0.37% at $97.53/barrel. Natural gas rose fell about -1.4% today to $2.46/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.5%, at $1,628.10/ounce, and finished the week up about 2.3%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 115 points to 12,767.17 (0.91%), the NASDAQ rose more than 36 points (1.29%) to 2,872.80, and the S&P 500 rose 1.03% or nearly 14 points to 1,342.83.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reiterated ‘outperform’ with a target price of $750 at Credit Suisse; Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) cut to ‘equal-weight’ at Barclays; Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) started as ‘buy’ at Citigroup; Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) maintained as ‘buy’ with a target price of $28 at Argus; and Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) raised to ‘buy’ at ThinkEquity.
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: Capstone Turbine Corp. (NASDAQ: CPST) is up 2% at $1.01 and Rubicon Minerals Corp. (AMEX: RBY) is up 1.6% at $3.14.
Our preview of the top ten earnings reports due next week includes FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), and Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT).
Other standouts from today include the following stocks:
ATP Oil & Gasd Corp. (NASDAQ: ATPG) is up 34.5% at $5.42. The exploration & production company filed suit today against the US government over the shutdown of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Microvision Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS) is down -22% at $2.24. The miniature laser technology company priced a secondary offering today well below last night’s closing price.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!