24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 15, 2012: Markets Hold onto Gains (C, KO, ORCL, RIO, SNDK, HAS, GCI, INTC, IBM, PKG, WDFC, FRX, GS, MAT, OMC, PNC, UNH, GWW, WWW, CLWR, S, CYCC, YONG)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened higher this morning, aided by a better-than-expected report on U.S. retail sales and a smaller-than-expected rise in the Empire State manufacturing survey (more coverage here). European markets closed higher today following comments by an EU commissioner that Greece may get more time to let its economic reforms work, that Spain has not foregone the bailout option, and that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) can be leveraged. Greece’s 10-year benchmark yields dropped 60 basis points on the comments (to just above 17%!). In Asia, China’s trade surplus grew as exports increased and imports decreased, and inflation ratcheted down to below 2% (more coverage here). Financial stocks were higher today, following a positive earnings report from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), and healthcare stocks were up nearly 1% with about an hour of trading left in today’s session.

The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 12% at 79.760. The GSCI commodity index is down about 1% at 665.30, with commodities prices mostly lower today on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed flat today, at $91.85 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 1% at $115.78 a barrel. Natural gas is down 3.6% today at about $3.48 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,737.60 an ounce, down 1.3% for the day.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 95 points to 13,424.23 (0.72%), the NASDAQ rose about 20 points (0.66%) to 3,064.18, and the S&P 500 rose 0.81% or nearly 12 points to 1,440.12.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) cut to ‘underperform’ at CLSA; Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) reiterated as ‘buy’ with target price of $39 at Argus; Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs; SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) raised to ‘outperform’ at Wedbush; and Hasbro Inc. (NYSE: HAS) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs.

Earnings reports since markets closed Friday resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is up 5% at $36.48 (more coverage here) and Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is down 0.6% at $17.80 (more coverage here).

Here’s our preview of tomorrow’s earnings report from five components of the DJIA, including Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) and International Business Machines Inc. (NYSE: IBM).

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to hear from Packaging Corp. of America (NYSE: PKG), WD-40 Co. (NASDAQ: WDFC), Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT), Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC), The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW), and Wolverine Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: WWW)

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) is us 13.4% at $2.64 after posting a new 52-week high of $2.96 earlier today. The wireless carrier is getting a bounce from the announcement that SoftBank will acquire 70% of Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S). More coverage here.

Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CYCC) is up 25.6% at $6.87 after posting a new 52-week low of $7.93 earlier today. The biopharmaceutical maker reported good results on a study of survival rates on its sapacitabine capsules for treatment of a blood disease.

Yongye International Inc. (NASDAQ: YONG) is up 17.3% at $5.62. The Chinese fertilizer maker got an offer of $6.60 a share to take the company private. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
  • 9:00 a.m. – Treasury international capital (TIC) data
  • 9:15 a.m. – Industrial production
  • 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4- and 52-week bill auctions

Paul Ausick

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