24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — October 19, 2012: Markets Dominated by Sellers Today (VZ, NVDA, GOOG, NOK, SNDK, MCD, COF, CMG, MSFT, RVBD, BHI, HON, KSU, SLB, EW, CAT, FCX, HAS, BTU, STI, VF, AMD, MRVL, AONE)

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The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower this morning, but the blame goes to some poor earnings report from U.S. firms rather than to international news. European markets were down slightly before the open this morning and Asian markets were mixed, with little new data out for investors to dig through. The only data of note in the U.S. today was a report on existing home sales that was slightly better than expected (more coverage here). Today’s sell-off in U.S. markets was the result of poor earnings virtually across the board from fast-food restaurants to chipmakers to the world’s largest software company. The only good news is that today is Friday.

The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.32% at 79.624. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 665.13, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 2.2% today, at $90.05 a barrel, down 2% for the week. Brent crude trades down 2% at $110.20 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.8% today at about $3.62 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,724.00 an ounce, down 1.2% for the day and down 2% for the week.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA fell more than 205 points to 13.343.59 (-1.52%), the NASDAQ fell more than 67 points (-2.19%) to 3,005.62, and the S&P 500 fell -1.66% or more than 24 points to 1,433.19.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) maintained as ‘hold’ but target price raised to $47 at Canaccord Genuity; Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) cut to ‘market perform’ at FBR; Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/ML and cut to ‘perform’ at Oppenheimer; Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) maintained as ‘hold’ and target price raised to $3 at Canaccord Genuity; and SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) raised to ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is down 4.3% at $88.897 (more coverage here); Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) is up 5.8% at $60.62 after posting a new 52-week high of $60.80 earlier today; Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is down 14.8% at $243.51 after posting a new 52-week low of $239.54 earlier today; Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is down 3.3% at $28.53 (more coverage here); Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD) is up 11.3% at $23.02; Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) is down 4.6% at $44.95 (more coverage here); Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is up 1.7% at $62.49 after posting a new 52-week high of $63.48 (more coverage here); Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) is up 1.3% at $78.35; and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) is down 0.8% at $74.22.

Before markets open on Monday we are scheduled to hear from Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI), and VF Corp. (NYSE: VF).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is down 16.6% at $2.19 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.17 earlier today. The chipmaker posted terrible earnings last night.

Marvell Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MRVL) is down 14% at $7.59 after posting a new 52-week low of $7.52 earlier today. This chipmaker saw its CFO depart yesterday, it warned on third quarter earnings, and cut its outlook.

A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) is up 52% at $0.11. The advanced battery maker appears to positioned for a bidding war now that it is in bankruptcy. More coverage here.

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

  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick