24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 17, 2012: Markets Don’t Move Much Today (C, CSCO, TWX, RYL, ADTN, BAC, CSX, IBM, INTC, URI, ABT, BK, BLK, CHKP, CMA, HAL, KCG, PEP, USB, AXP, EBAY, NE, STLD, BSX, DO, MS, NVR, PM, LUV, SVU, UNP, VZ, CYMI, APOL, FTNT)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower this morning, and never really got untracked all day. Spanish 10-year bond yields fell 28 basis points to around 5.51%, while Spain again demurred on its need for a bailout (more coverage here). In Asia, markets followed Wall Street higher again today, and is waiting to see China’s GDP number due out tomorrow. In the U.S., housing starts rose sharply in September (more coverage here

), while mortgage applications fell last week (more coverage here). Only the S&P 500, driven by financial stocks, was able to remain in positive territory throughout the day, although all three indexes ended up in positive territory at today’s close.

The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.47% at 79.033. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 664.24, with commodities prices mostly higher again today on the weaker dollar. WTI crude oil closed flat today, at $92.12 a barrel, following a larger-than-expected addition to the country’s commercial crude oil stocks (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 0.77% at $113.12 a barrel. Natural gas is up 1% today at about $3.47 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,753.00 an ounce, up 0.4% for the day.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 5 points to 13,556.77 (0.04%), the NASDAQ rose about 3 points (0.10%) to 3,104.12, and the S&P 500 rose 0.41% or about 6 points to 1,460.90.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) raised to ‘outperform’ at CLSA and reiterated as ‘sell’ at Argus; Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) cut to ‘hold’ at Cantor Fitzgerald; Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) started as ‘outperform’ with a target price of $50 at Credit Suisse; Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL) cut to ‘market perform’ at Raymond James; and ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) raised to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is down 0.05% at $9.46 (more coverage here); CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) is down 1.5% at $21.30 (more coverage here); International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is down 5.1% at $200.33 (more coverage here); Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is down 2.6% at $21.78 after posting a new 52-week low of $21.26 earlier today (more coverage here); United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) is up 15.3% at $39.14; Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is down 4.2% at $69.08 (more coverage here); Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) is up 5.7% at $24.90 after posting a new 52-week high of $24.97 earlier today; BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) is down 0.4% at $189.17; Check Point Software Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: CHKP) is down 12.7% at $41.39 after posting a 52-week low of $40.92 earlier today; Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) is down 2.6% at $30.25; Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is up 1.9% at $35.20 (more coverage here); Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE: KCG) is up 1.2% at $2.61; PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) is down 0.4% at $70.00 (more coverage here); and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) is up 1.7% at $34.19 (more coverage here).

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to hear from American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE), Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ: SCSS), Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD), Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO), KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), NVR Inc. (NYSE: NVR), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), SUPERVALU Inc. (NYSE: SVU), Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE: UNP), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Cymer Inc. (NASDAQ: CYMI) is up 49.9% at $71.70 after posting a new 52-week high of $77.07 earlier today. The semiconductor equipment maker is being acquired by Holland’s ASML for $2.5 billion, or $20 a share in cash and 1.15 shares of ASML stock for each Cymer share held.

Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) is down 20.7% at $21.80 after posting a new 52-week low of $21.72 earlier today. The for-profit education provider reported weak results and more of the same to come. More coverage here.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) is down 19.6% at $19.95. The Internet security company reported weak results and lowered its outlook. Other stocks in the sector are feeling the pain as well today. More coverage here.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 10:00 a.m. – Philadelphia Fed survey
  • 10:00 a.m. – Leading economic indicators
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 1:00 p.m. – 30-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) auction
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick