24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- July 12, 2012: Markets Continue Slide on No Signs of Easing
The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following yesterday’s release of the minutes of the June FOMC meeting which did not raise hopes for another round of Fed easing. Markets in Asia and Europe were weaker as well today, although the report for May industrial production in Europe was better than expected (our coverage here). The Bank of Japan has also crushed investors hopes of more easing in that country. New claims for unemployment benefits came in lower than expected and import prices fell for the third month in a row, but neither report did anything to boost shares (more coverage here).
The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.15% at 83.690, after rising to almost 84 earlier today (our coverage here). The GSCI commodity index rose about 1% to 612.44, with commodities prices mixed today, following a disheartening report on drought in the US Midwest (our coverage here). WTI crude oil rose 0.3% today, closing at $86.08/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.6% at $100.82/barrel. Natural gas is up 0.8% today to $2.875/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,565.30/ounce, down -0.7% since yesterday’s close.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 31 points to 12,573.27 (-0.25%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 22 points (-0.75%) to 2,866.19, and the S&P 500 fell -0.5% or more than 6 points to 1,334.76.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) started as ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) raised to ‘outperform’ at Wells Fargo; FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) cut to ‘equal-weight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is down -6% at $35.74, Texas Industries Inc. (NYSE: TXI) is up 16.2% at $44.20 after posting a new 52-week high of $44.23 earlier today; Infosys Ltd. (NASDAQ: INFY) is down -11.2% at $38.72 after posting a new 52-week low of $38.12 earlier today; Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR) is down -5% at $19.52; NovaGold Resources Inc. (NYSEMKT: NG) is up 1.6% at $5.35; and Fastenall Co. (NASDAQ: FAST) is up 6.7% at $42.29.
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Supervalu Inc. (NYSE: SVU) is down -48.8% at $2.71 after posting a new 52-week low of $5.61 earlier today. The grocery store chain reported weak earnings after markets closed last night. More coverage here.
Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT: LNG) is up 10.3% at $15.62. The liquefied natural gas company’s subsidiary, Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. (NYSEMKT: CQP) agreed to a $3.4 billion credit facility today for construction of an LNG export facility. More coverage here.
Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) is down -12% at $15.82 after posting a new 52-week low of $15.71 earlier today. The grocer fell on the poor report from Supervalu.
Stay tuned for Friday. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
- 9:55 a.m. – Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index