24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- August 6, 2012: Market Rises on Low Volume, Lack of News

The three major US stock indexes opened higher this morning most likely due to the lack of bad news on the Eurozone’s financial troubles (more coverage here). Asian markets got a chance to react to last Friday’s US report on non-farm payrolls, and they liked what they saw. China also seemed to indicate that it would try to speed up the economy by improving access to credit. US trading was slower today as there were no major data announcements on the schedule.

The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.11% at 82.287. The GSCI commodity index rose by about 2.7% to 647.65, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil rose 0.9% today, closing at $92.20/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.61% at $109.60/barrel. Natural gas is up 1.3% today to $2.914/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,616.20/ounce, up 0.4% for the day.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 24 points to 13,120.54 (0.19%), the NASDAQ rose about 22 points (0.74%) to 2,989.91, and the S&P 500 rose 0.24% or more than 3 points to 1,394.31.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) raised to ‘buy’ with a target price of $83 at Stifel Nicolaus; Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY) cut to ‘underperform’ at FBR; Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) raised to ‘outperform’ at Baird; and Beazer USA Homes Inc. (NYSE: BZH) raised to ‘market perform’ at Wells Fargo.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Alexander’s Inc. (NYSE: ALX) is up 1.3% at $440.00; American States Water Co. (NYSE: AWR) is up 1% at $41.86 after posting a new 52-week high of $42.90 earlier today; Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYOU) is up 18.6% at $22.98 (more coverage here); FreightCar America Inc. (NASDAQ: RAIL) is down -9.1% at $19.07 (more coverage here); HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HCA) is down 4.2% at $25.49 (more coverage here); MakeMyTrip Ltd. (NASDAQ: MMYT) is up 7.9% at $17.44; Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU) is up 19.8% at $41.57; and Youku Inc. (NYSE: YOKU) is up 10.6% at $18.10 (more coverage here).

After markets close today we’re scheduled to hear from Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), Broadsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT), Ceasars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR), Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE), Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP), McDermott International Inc. (NYSE: MDR), and Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO).

Before markets open on Monday we are scheduled to get earnings results from Amerigas Partners L.P. (NYSE: APU), Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO), Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE: CDE), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP), Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID), Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC), and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE: KCG) is down -22.4% at $3.14. The financial services firm will issue 267 million 2% convertible preferred shares. More coverage here.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is up 12.7% at $19.89. The consumer electronics retailer got a $9 billion buyout offer from its founder. More coverage here.

Vringo Inc. (NYSEMKT: VRNG) is up 22.6% at $3.83. The intellectual property firm settled a patent dispute with Aol Inc. (NYSE: AOL). More coverage here.

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

  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction
  • 3:00 p.m. – Consumer credit data

Paul Ausick

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