The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following on softness in European markets and a mixed close in the Asian markets. There has been little data for investors to chew on over the last couple of days, so tomorrow’s report on new claims for unemployment benefits may carry more influence than usual, particularly if the number comes in lower than expected. Energy prices popped following the EIA’s weekly petroleum status report, but have since given back all the gain (more coverage here). Volumes were moderate today.
The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.23% at 82.401. The GSCI commodity index rose by about 1.1% to 657.51, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil fell -0.3% today, closing at $93.35/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.14% at $112.16/barrel. Natural gas is down -0.9% today to $2.937/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,616.00/ounce, up 0.2% for the day.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 7 points to 13,175.94 (0.06%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 5 points (-0.15%) to 3,011.25, and the S&P 500 rose 0.06% or less than 1 point to 1,402.22.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CBST) started on ‘Conviction Buy List’ at Goldman Sachs; Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) started as ‘neutral’ at BofA/ML; VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) cut to ‘neutral’ at UBS; and Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) cut to ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Demand Media Inc. (NYSE: DMD) is up 1.5% at $11.80 after posting a new 52-week high of $12.38 earlier today; Gevo Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) is down -4.8% at $3.67; Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN) is down -17.2% at $562.85 (more coverage here); Solazyme Inc. (NASDAQ: SZYM) is down -7.7% at $12.58; A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) is up 4.3% at $0.49; Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is down 9% at $6.28 (more coverage here); Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ: CG) is down -2.3% at $23.91; Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) is up 15.6% at $29.50 (more coverage here); DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) is down -0.6% at $30.50 (more coverage here); HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC) is down -0.9% at $39.08; Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) is up 2.5% at $37.94 (more coverage here); MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR) is up 9.5% at $2.26 (more coverage here); and Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) is down -1.2% at $151.21 (more coverage here).
After markets close today we’re scheduled to hear from Affymax Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFY), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR), Education Management Corp. (NASDAQ: EDMC), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC), Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST), and Yamana Gold Inc. (NYSE: AUY).
Before markets open on Thursday we are scheduled to get earnings results from Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP), AMC Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: AMCX), Clean Diesel Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: CDTI), Hillshire Brands Co. (NYSE: HSH), James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC), Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD), and The Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: OWW) is down -26.8% at $3.41. The Internet travel company missed estimates and lowered guidance this morning.
Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – International trade data
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade
- 10:30 p.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 1:00 p.m. – 30-year bond auction
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply