24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- August 15, 2012: Markets Don’t Impress Again (ETR, GBG, OCZ, RGR, JIVE, JDSU, PEIX, PAAS, ANF, A, CSIQ, DE, SPLS, TGT, A, AMAT, CSCO, LTD, NTAP, PETM, SINA, DLTR, DANG, GME, ROST, SHLD, WMT, S, SPLS, CSIQ)

The three major US stock indexes opened somewhat lower this morning following an announcement from the Bank of England that it would not change interest rates nor asset purchases. In Asia, the perpetual hope for more easing in China helped keep share prices higher for a while, but markets there closed down today. In the US, data on the consumer price index mostly neutral (more coverage here), while the New York Fed’s manufacturing index came in weaker than expected. A home builders’ index came in slightly better than expected (more coverage here) and US industrial production also rose more than expected (more coverage here). Markets closed mixed today, with no index up by as much as half a point.

The US dollar index rose today, now up 0.23% at 82.672. The GSCI commodity index rose 0.3% to 655.53, with most commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil finished up 1% today, closing at $94.33/barrel, as the EIA report showed a larger inventory drop than expected. Brent crude trades up 1.93% at $116.23/barrel. Natural gas is down -2.8% today to $2.754/thousand cubic feet. Gold settled at $1,606.60/ounce, up 0.3%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 7 points to 13,164.78 (-0.06%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 14 points (0.46%) to 3,030.93, and the S&P 500 rose 0.11% or nearly 2 points to 1,405.53.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR) cut to ‘underperform’ at BofA; Great Basin Gold Ltd. (NYSEMKT: GBG) cut to ‘sell’ at Stifel Nicolaus; OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ: OCZ) cut to ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee; Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. (NYSE: RGR) cut to ‘underweight’ with a $40 price target at KeyBank (more coverage here); and Jive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: JIVE) raised to ‘outperform’ with a $21 target price at RW Baird.

Earnings reports since markets closed last last night have led to some price changes as of the last half hour of trading today: JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) is up 8.3% at $11.57 (more coverage here); Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) is down -4.5% at $0.32; Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ: PAAS) is down -0.2% at $15.35; Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) is up 9.4% at $35.36 (more coverage here); Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is down -10.9% at $2.71; Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) is down -6.2% at $75.17 (more coverage here); and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is up 1.8% at $64.49 after posting a new 52-week high of $64.99 earlier today (more coverage here).

Earnings releases are slowing down, but reports scheduled before tomorrow’s open include Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT), Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD), NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP), PetSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM), Sina Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA), Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), E-commerce China Dangdang Inc. (NASDAQ: DANG), 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:

Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) is up 8% at $5.39, after posting a new 52-week high of $5.49 earlier today. No particular news today, but investors love this stock right now.

Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) is down -15.1% at $11.43 after posting a new 52-week low of $10.99. The office supplies store badly missed expectations and lowered its outlook. More coverage here.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is down -11.2% at $2.70. The solar PV maker missed estimates for the second quarter, but maintained shipment guidance. Selling more for less is not a winning strategy.

Stay tuned for Thursday. Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey
  • 10:00 a.m. – E-commerce retail sales
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick

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