The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning following more data from China. Both export and import data fell short, weighing on most Asian markets (more coverage here). There was little news out of Europe, so markets there also reacted poorly to the weak Chinese data. In the US, import prices fell sharply (more coverage here) and the estimates for the US corn crop were chopped again (more coverage here). Neither data point had a lasting effect on equity trading, though, and stocks managed to close higher following a burst of enthusiasm in the last half hour.
The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.11% at 82.548. The GSCI commodity index rose 0.04% to 661.65, with commodities prices mostly down today. Corn hit an all-time high of $8.43/bushel before pulling back to a loss of about -2%. WTI crude oil finished down -0.5% today, closing at $92.87/barrel. Brent crude trades down -0.11% at $113.10/barrel. Natural gas is down -6% today to $2.766/thousand cubic feet (more coverage here). Gold settled at $1,623.70/ounce, up 0.2% for the day and 0.8% for the week.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 42 points to 13,207.65 (0.32%), the NASDAQ rose more than 2 points (0.07%) to 3,020.86, and the S&P 500 rose 0.22% or more than 3 points to 1,405.84.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Novo/Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) cut to ‘sell’ at SocGen; Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/ML; Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) cut to ‘hold’ at Argus; Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Barclays; Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) started as ‘hold’ at Needham; and Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) cut to ‘underweight’ at JPMorgan.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV) is down -3.3% at $19.21; Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is up 1.8% at $56.09 (more coverage here); Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) is down -0.5% at $14.63 (more coverage here); Codexis Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS) is down -20.1% at $2.46 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.40 earlier today; J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is up 5.6% at $23.33 (more coverage here); and Bally Technologies Inc. (NYSE: BYI) is up 6.9% at $44.88 (more coverage here).
Earnings releases are slowing down, but some important reports scheduled for next week include Iamgold Corp. (NYSE: IAG), Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY), JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU), Kid Brands Inc. (NYSE: KID), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO), Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD), GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST), Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
ATP Oil & Gas Corp. (NASDAQ: ATPG) is down -70.9% at $0.38 after posting a new 52-week low of $0.31. The independent oil & gas company is believed to be preparing to file for bankruptcy.
Ubiquiti Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: UBNT) is down -42.2% at $8.67 after posting a new 52-week low of $8.52 earlier today. The wireless network products maker posted weak results last night and said it is continuing to fight counterfeiting in all parts of the world except the US.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!