Investing

24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- July 23, 2012: Markets Fade Eurozone Continues Faltering

The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning as Spanish 10-year bond yields rose sharply above 7% (our coverage here) and German magazine Der Spiegel published a story that suggested Greece may not get further support from the IMF to delay its agreed fiscal reforms (our coverage here). In Asia, a representative of the People’s Bank of China questioned the bank’s ability to lower interest rates and suggested annual GDP growth may reach only 7.2% (our coverage here). Equities have come off their session lows, but remain about -1% or more below Friday’s close.

The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.3% at 83.728, almost 13% higher than a year ago. The GSCI commodity index fell about -0.4% to 651.87, with commodities prices mostly lower today on the stronger dollar. Corn fell to around $7.83/bushel today, on a forecast for some much-needed rain (our coverage here). WTI crude oil fell -4% today, closing at $88.14/barrel. Brent crude trades down -3.4% at $103.22/barrel. Natural gas is up 1.14% today to $3.116/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,577.40/ounce, down -0.3%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 101 points to 12,721.46 (-0.79%), the NASDAQ fell more than 35 points (-1.20%) to 2,890.15, and the S&P 500 fell -0.89% or more than 12 points to 1,350.51.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including NVR Inc. (NYSE: NVR) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) maintained as ‘buy’ but removed from Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs; Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ: DECK) cut to ‘underperform’ at Sterne Agee; and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ONXX) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE) is up 2.7% at $27.56; Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) is up 4.4% at $40.78; Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is up 4.6% at $35.40 (more coverage here); and McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is down -2.5% at $89.25 (more coverage here).

After markets close today we are set to hear from Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD), Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE), and VMWare Inc. (NYSE: VMW) among many others.

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to get earnings results from AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), and United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Nexen Inc. (NYSE: NXY) is up 52.2% at $25.97 after posting a new 52-week high of $26.19 earlier today. The Canadian oil & gas producer is being acquired by China’s CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE: CEO) for $15.1 billion. More coverage here.

Intermune Inc. (NASDAQ: ITMN) is down -14.9% at $9.97. The drugmaker missed EPS estimates badly this morning.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc. (NASDAQ: PEET) is up 28% at $73.16. The coffee roaster and retailer is being taken private in a deal worth about $1 billion. More coverage here.

GenOn Energy Inc. (NYSE: GEN) is up 27.2% at $2.32. The merchant power producer is being acquired by NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) for about $1.7 billion. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is giving a speech in the morning. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:58 a.m. – PMI flash reading for US from Markit Economics
  • 10:00 a.m. – FHFA house price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2-year note auction

Paul Ausick