24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- July 6, 2012: Equities Soft on China Slowdown, European Debt

The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following report from China that it has cut inflation to an annualized rate of 2.2% in June (our coverage here). Lower inflation, however, brings with it lower production, with China particularly weighed down by lack of export demand from Europe. And in Europe, Spanish 10-year bond yields moved back to 7% (our coverage here). The Federal Reserve’s report on consumer credit showed that revolving credit rose 11.25% in May, about double the expected increase, with non-revolving debt up $9.1billion and revolving debt up $8 billion (more coverage here).

The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.2% at 83.151. The GSCI commodity index also fell, down -2.5% at 605.15, with commodities prices all higher today. WTI crude oil rose 1.8% today, closing at $85.99/barrel. Brent crude trades up 1.77% at $99.93/barrel, as a lockout appears imminent in Norway’s North Sea fields (our coverage here). Natural gas is up 3.9% today to $2.884/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled up 0.7%, at $1,589.10/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 36 points to 12,736.29 (-0.28%), the NASDAQ fell more than 5 points (-0.19%) to 2,931.77, and the S&P 500 fell -0.16% or more than 2 points to 1,352.46.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including an unusual number of ‘sell’ ratings: Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS; Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS; Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) cut to ‘sell’ at Visa Inc.; TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; and State Street Corp. (NYSE: STT) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs.

There were no earnings reports of note today, but a new earnings season kicks off with Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) reporting after the markets close this afternoon. Other companies reporting on Monday include Healthcare Services Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HCSG) and WD-40 Co. (NASDAQ: WDFC).

Tomorrow we are scheduled to get earnings results from SemiLEDS Corp. (NASDAQ: LEDS) Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE: WWW), Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SHAW), Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ: HELE). And here’s a look at some key earnings to watch this week.

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Amerigroup Corp. (NYSE: AGP) is up XX% at $XX after posting a new 52-week high of $XX earlier today. The health care services company is being acquired by Wellpoint Inc. (NYSE: WLP). More coverage here and here.

FX Alliance Inc. (NYSE: FX) is up XX% at $XX. The foreign exchange platform supplier is being acquired by Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI).

Bridgepoint Education Inc. (NYSE: BPI) is down -XX% at $XX. The for-profit education company was denied accreditation and faces a December deadline to renew its existing accreditation. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Business optimism index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction

Paul Ausick

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