24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 22, 2012: Market Staggers to Gain (EQR, SNDK, KMP, WEN, CVC, EW, CAT, FCX, HAS, BTU, STI, VFC, CE, WD, TXN, YHOO, MMM, AKS, COH, DD, HOG, RSH, UPS, UTS, XRX, SVU, OSG, AMD)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened mixed this morning with the S&P 500 and the DJIA slightly lower and the Nasdaq slightly higher. In Asia Japan’s trade deficit was wider than had been expected as exports to China and the U.S. both fell. Hong Kong’s financial authority bought $603 million in U.S. dollars over the weekend in a move designed to keep the high end of the HK dollar’s peg to the U.S. dollar within its specified range. In Europe the Greek finance minister said the work on the country’s next tranche of bailout funds is about 90% complete. We’ll find out soon enough.

The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.04% at 79.653. The GSCI commodity index is down about 1.4% at 656.05, with commodities prices mostly stronger today. WTI crude oil closed down 1.5% today, at $88.73 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.74% at $109.33 a barrel. Natural gas is down 4.8% today at about $3.45 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,726.30 an ounce, up 0.1% for the day.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 2 points to 13,345.89(0.02%), the NASDAQ rose more than 11 points (0.38%) to 3,016.96, and the S&P 500 rose 0.04% or less than 1 point to 1,433.81.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) cut to ‘sector perform’ at RBC; Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: KMP) raised to ‘buy’ at Argus; Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) started as ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) raised to ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) is down 0.1% at $86.04; Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is up 1% at $84.66 (more coverage here); Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) is down 1.9% at $40.39 (more coverage here); Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is down 1.2% at $38.59 (more coverage here); Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) is up 10.9% at $28.70 (more coverage here); SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) is down 3.7% at $27.57; and VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) is down 4.6% at $159.14.

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to hear from Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE), Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDR), Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS), ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH), Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH), E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD), Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG), RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH), United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), and Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

SUPERVALU Inc. (NYSE: SVU) is up 42.5% at $3.12. The supermarket company is thought to be a takeover target, with private equity firm Cerberus currently looking to finance such a deal.

Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (NYSE: OSG) is down 64.6% at $1.15 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.02 earlier today. The oil tanker company may have to file for bankruptcy. More coverage here.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is down 2.8% at $2.12 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.10 earlier today. The chipmaker has failed to persuade investors that it can do anything right. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. The FOMC meeting begins today. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2-year Treasury note auction

Paul Ausick

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