Investing

24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- July 11, 2012: More Profit Warnings, No Easing Keep Shares Down

The three major US stock indexes opened slightly lower this morning ahead of the release later today of the minutes of the last FOMC meeting. Asian markets were mixed overnight and markets in Europe offered a mixed reaction to Spain’s latest proposal to cut spending and raise taxes by €65 billion (our coverage here). The US trade deficit was lower in May, which caused no discernible reaction among traders, and other data out today on trade had similar results. The release of the FOMC minutes did not include a strong preference for more easing by the Fed, and that sent shares lower (our coverage here).

The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.17% at 83.538. The GSCI commodity index fell about -1.7% to 605.91, with commodities prices mostly lower today, even though US crop forecasts were lowered (our coverage here). WTI crude oil rose 2.3% today, closing at $85.81/barrel. Brent crude trades up 2.4% at $100.32/barrel. Natural gas is up 4% today to $2.847/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled down -0.3%, at $1,569.80/ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 49 points to 12,604.38 (-0.39%), the NASDAQ fell more than 14 points (-0.49%) to 2,887.98, and the S&P 500 was flat at  1,341.44.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) started as ‘buy’ at UBS; Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) started as ‘market perform’ at BMO Capital Markets; Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) cut to ‘underperform’ at BMO Capital Markets; Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS; and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a target price of $39 at Argus.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Adtran Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) is down -15.9% at $22.86 after posting a new 52-week low of $22.58 earlier today. After markets close today we expect to get earnings reports from Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI), Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR), and Texas Industries Inc. (NYSE: TXI).

Tomorrow we are scheduled to get earnings results from NovaGold Resources Inc. (NYSEMKT: NG) and Fastenall Co. (NASDAQ: FAST). Take a look at our overview of tech stock earnings due next week from Apple, Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Microsoft.

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

hhgregg Inc. (NYSE: HGG) is down -37% at $7.28 after posting a new 52-week low of $7.00 earlier today. The consumer electronics and appliances retailer warned on quarterly and full-year earnings this morning. More coverage here.

OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ: OCZ) is down -17.4% at $4.50. The digital storage company reported worse than expected earnings last night.

Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) is down -10.5% at $32.91. The gold mining company cut guidance this morning and dragged the other miners down with it. More coverage here.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is up 5.6% at $1.90. The mobile phone maker had no news today, but some analysts believe things have to get better for the company because they just can’t get much worse.

Stay tuned for Thursday. San Francisco Fed President John Williams is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 8:30 a.m. – Import and export prices
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 1:00 p.m. – 30-year note auction
  • 2:00 p.m. – Treasury budget
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick