24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 12, 2012: Markets Remain Indifferent (S, STX, WDC, GE, WMT, DLTR, JBHT, JPM, WFC, C, GCI, WDAY, SHOS, SHLD, BZH, TZOO, AMD)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened flat this morning, and after a brief stay in positive territory, shares went negative and remained no better than flat for most of the day. In Asia, investors seem ready to wait for the coming rush of earnings reports, although this weekend we’ll get both CPI and PPI readings from China. Shares of Japan’s SoftBank lost 20% after news leaked out of the company’s discussions with Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S). In Europe, the head of the OECD said he thinks Spain will not seek bailout funds from the European Central Bank (more coverage here). Germany has weighed in against a stimulus proposal for the eurozone put forward by IMF chief Christine Lagarde (more coverage here). In the U.S., headline PPI rose 1.1% while the core reading was flat (more coverage here).

The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.16% at 79.651. The GSCI commodity index is up about 1% at 671.84, with commodities prices mostly lower today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.2% today, at $91.86 a barrel, although prices rose 2.2% for the week. Brent crude trades down 1% at $114.58 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.14% today at about $3.60 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,759.70 an ounce, down 0.5% for the day, closing the week down 1.2%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 2 points to 13,328.85 (0.02%), the NASDAQ fell more than 5 points (-0.17%) to 3,044.11, and the S&P 500 fell -0.30% or more than 4 points to 1,428.59.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX) and Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) both cut to ‘sell’ at Citigroup; General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) started as ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank; Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies; Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) cut to ‘hold’ at Jefferies; and Nomura cut ratings or estimates or both at three coal companies (more coverage here).

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: J.B. Hunt Transportation Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) is up 6.6% at $58.43 (more coverage here); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is down 1.2% at $41.61 (more coverage here); and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is down 3% at $34.11 (more coverage here).

Before markets open on Monday we are scheduled to hear from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

There was one highly successful IPO today and another sort-of IPO. Cloud-based HR software maker Workday Inc. (NASDAQ: WDAY) priced its IPO at $28 and the shares are trading at $49.74, up 77.6%, in the last half of trading today (more coverage here). Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) began trading today after a successful rights offering that garnered $446.5 million for parent Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD). Shares of Sears Hometown are trading down 0.5% at $30.86 (more coverage here).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH) is up 376% at $16.81. The homebuilder executed a 1-for-5 reverse stock split today.

Travelzoo Inc. (NASDAQ: TZOO) is down 14.3% at $20.14 after posting a new 52-week low of $19.33 earlier today. The online travel site warned on earnings today. More coverage here.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is down 13.3% at $2.78 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.77 earlier today. The chipmaker warned on revenues last night. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Monday. New York Fed President William Dudley, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
  • 8:30 a.m. – Empire State manufacturing survey
  • 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

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