24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- August 13, 2012: Markets Softer on Lack of Interest (KO, COP, YHOO, S, P, SYY, MPO, IAG, DKS, HD, KIOR, KORS, TJX, PNX, ASTI, SCLN)

The three major US stock indexes opened lower this morning as reports on Japanese (more coverage here) and Greek GDP (more coverage here

). both disappointed investors. Asian markets were propped up somewhat by continued hopes for more government easing. In Europe, Finland’s prime minister said once again that he does not support more bond purchase by the European Central Bank. Volume is low again today. XX stocks closed XX

The US dollar index fell today, now down -0.17% at 82.409. The GSCI commodity index fell -0.08% to 656.21, with virtually all commodities prices down today. WTI crude oil finished down -0.2% today, closing at $92.73/barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.64% at $113.67/barrel. Natural gas is down -1.5% today to $2.728/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,612.60/ounce, down -0.6%, joining silver and WTI crude, all of which were lower today as the dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 38 points to 13,170.05 (-0.29%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 2 points (1.66%) to 3,022.52, and the S&P 500 fell -0.12% or nearly 2 points to 1,404.14.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs; ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) raised to ‘buy’ at SocGen; Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus; Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/ML; and Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY) is up 4.3% at $30.08 and Midstates Petroleum Co. Inc. (NYSE: MPO) is down -2% at $7.84 (more coverage here).

Earnings releases are slowing down, but reports scheduled before tomorrow’s open include Iamgold Corp. (NYSE: IAG), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Kior Inc. (NASDAQ: KIOR), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), and TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

The Phoenix Companies Inc. (NYSE: PNX) is up 1,864% at $29.26. The insurance company completed a 1-for-20 reverse stock split today.

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) is up 21% at $1.61. The solar cell and module maker announced a solar recharging case for the Samsung Galaxy S3 phone today. The company is having some success diversifying away from solar PV panel manufacturing.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SCLN) is down -16.1% at $4.78. The drug maker’s stock was downgraded today, giving back last week’s gain on a good earnings report.

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

  • 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Businesses small business optimism index
  • 8:30 a.m. – Producer price index
  • 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
  • 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction

Paul Ausick