24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- July 2, 2012: A Mixed Monday on Wall Street

The three major US stock indexes opened only slightly higher this morning as European markets traded a little stronger today on lower yields for both Spanish and Italian sovereign debt. A weak report from the ISM on US manufacturing pushed stocks lower (our coverage here) and the European and US PMI readings were also discouraging. A slightly better than expected reading on construction spending didn’t swing trading back to the upside (our coverage here). In the last hour of trading today, only the NASDAQ has managed to turn positive. The mid-week holiday has already begun for many, keeping trading volume down.

The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.29% at 81.865. The GSCI commodity index is up a sharp 5.3% at 599.44, with commodities prices almost uniformly higher today. WTI crude oil closed down -1.4% at $83.75/barrel. Brent crude trades down -0.53% at $97.28/barrel. Natural gas rose 0.57% today to $2.84/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled down -0.4%, at $1,597.70/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 9 points to 12,871.39 (-0.07%), the NASDAQ rose more than 16 points (0.55%) to 2,951.23, and the S&P 500 rose 0.25% or more than 3 points to 1,365.51.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) cut to ‘sell’ at SocGen; Tiffany and Co. (NYSE: TIF) raised to ‘buy’ with a target price of $63 at Canaccord Genuity; Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: LIFE) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank; and IMAX Corp. (NYSE: IMAX) started as ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan.

There were no earnings reports of note today, and none are scheduled for tomorrow either, in advance of the July Fourth holiday.

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Brightpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: CELL) is up 64% at $8.87. The wireless technology distributor is being acquired by Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) for $9/share, a premium of about 66% to Friday’s closing price. The total value of the deal is about $622 million.

ATP Oil & Gas Corp. (NASDAQ: ATPG) is up 22.3% at $4.11. The oil & gas producer reported a natural gas strike in the deepwater offshore of Israel. More coverage here.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is down -9.3% at $9.65. The company’s shares were downgraded by one analyst today and the price target was lowered by 20%. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. US markets close at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction

Paul Ausick