24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — July 31, 2012: Markets Turn Down on Lost Confidence, Eurozone Waffling

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The three major US stock indexes opened mixed this morning following the unemployment report from the Eurozone, which showed that the 11.2% rate had remained unchanged. The Eurozone consumer price index was also unchanged at 2.4% (our coverage here). US data on personal income and spending were mixed (our coverage here), while the Case-Shiller house price index showed a year-over-year decline in May (our coverage here). The Conference Board’s economic confidence index improved this month (more coverage here), but Gallup’s survey on economic confidence showed a decline in confidence (our coverage here). An agreement has been struck between Congressional Democrats and Republicans that will avoid a repeat of last summer’s shutdown of some government services.

The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.18% at 82.642. The GSCI commodity index rose by about 0.4% to 644.60, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil fell -1.72% today, closing at $88.06/barrel, although July prices rose 3.6% (our coverage here). Brent crude trades down -1.37% at $104.74/barrel. Natural gas is up 0.16% today to $3.219/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,610.50/ounce, down -0.6% for the day, but up 0.4% for the month.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 64 points to 13,008.68 (-0.49%), the NASDAQ fell more than 6 points (-0.21%) to 2,939.52, and the S&P 500 fell -0.43% or nearly 6 points to 1,379.32.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) started as ‘buy’ at Jefferies; Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; The Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; Broadsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs, and Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) started as ‘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: Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) is down -3.2% at $69.45; CafePress Inc. (NASDAQ: PRSS) is down -40.9% at $8.10 after posting a new 52-week low of $7.68 earlier today (more coverage here); Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ: DNDN) is down -23% at $4.76 after posting a new 52-week low of $4.70 earlier today (more coverage here); Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) is down -2.1% at $11.26; Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) is down -1.4% at $30.01; Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) is down -2.9% at $36.05; Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) is down -5.2% at $26.08; Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) is down -18.6% at $49.30(more coverage here); Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) is down -0.3% at $47.33; Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is up 1.5% at $24.06 (our coverage here); Revlon Inc. (NYSE: REV) is up 7.2% at $14.55; United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) is up 9.1% at $20.65; and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is up 5.5% at $27.51 (more coverage here).

After markets close today we are set to hear from Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL), Edison International Inc. (NYSE: EIX), FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC), Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD).

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to get earnings results from Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW), CNH Global NV (NYSE: CNH), Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN), Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), and Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is down -6.5% at $21.64, after posting a new 52-week low of $21.61 earlier today. The social media giant continues to suffer from last week’s poor earnings and the end of a lock-up period for pre-IPO investors. More coverage here.

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is down -14.2% at $1.15after posting a new 52-week low of $1.02 earlier today. The solar PV maker revealed some accounting issues yesterday that have plagued the company again today.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) is down 3.1% at $4.37 after posting a new 52-week high of $4.60earlier today. The telecom provider is gaining support for its strategic plan.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage purchase applications
  • 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job-cut report
  • 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
  • 9:00 a.m. – PMI manufacturing index
  • 10:00 a.m. – ISM manufacturing index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Construction spending
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 2:15 p.m. – FOMC announcement
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Paul Ausick