24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 24, 2012: Markets Can’t Hold Morning Gains (BUD, NOK, CHKP, AAPL, DLTR, AMGN, BRCM, FB, JNPR, NFLX, T, BA, GLW, LLY, EMC, GD, LCC, ANGI, CLF, CROX, FFIV, RRC, RYL, AET, ZNGA, ALK, AN, BG, CL, DNKN, NOV, POT, UAL, RF, TPX, ZZ, ATI)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened higher this morning following a better-than-expected PMI reading from China (more coverage here) that was mostly untempered by lower-than-expected PMI readings from Europe (more coverage here

). Index futures were higher going into the open and that sentiment was reinforced by several good earnings reports last night and before markets opened this morning. The report on new home sales came in a bit stronger than expected which also helped support equity prices this morning (more coverage here). This afternoon’s FOMC announcement held no surprises and lifted shares a bit as well (more coverage here). But lacking a big motivator, markets just slid into negative territory about an hour before closing.

The U.S. dollar index fell slightly today, now down 0.03% at 79.949. The GSCI commodity index is down about 1.4% at 639.30, with commodities prices mixed today. WTI crude oil closed down 1.1% today, at $85.73 a barrel following a larger-than-expected inventory build in the U.S. (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 0.37% at $107.85 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.5% today at about $3.45 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,701.60 an ounce, down 0.5% for the day.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 25 points to 13,077.34 (-0.19%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 9 points (-0.29%) to 2,981.70, and the S&P 500 fell -0.31% or more than 4 points to 1,408.76.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. (NYSE: BUD) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) maintained as ‘underweight’ at JPMorgan; Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) raised to ‘buy’ at BofA/ML; Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reiterated as ‘buy’ and target price raised to $800 at Canaccord Genuity; and Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) raised to ‘Conviction Buy List’ 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: Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is up 0.4% at $87.66; Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) is down 3.8% at $32.09; Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is up 18.8% at $23.17 (more coverage here); Juniper Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: JNPR) is down 9.3% at $15.93; Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is down 11.8% at $60.20 (more coverage here); AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is down 0.8% at $34.71 (more coverage here); Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is down 0.3% at $72.57 (more coverage here); Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) is down 10.7% at $11.98; Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is down 1.7% at $9.98 (more coverage here); Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is down 2.6% at $50.58 (more coverage here); EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is down 1.6% at $24.29 (more coverage here); General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD) is up 2.2% at $67.69 (more coverage here); and US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) is up 1.9% at $12.32.

Before markets open tomorrow we are scheduled to hear from Angie’s List Inc. (NASDAQ: ANGI), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF), Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX), F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL), Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET), Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK), AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN), Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG), Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL), Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (NASDAQ: DNKN), National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV), Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT), and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) among a host of others.

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

RF Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: RFMD) is up 10.8% at $4.36. The RF components maker busted second quarter estimates and raised third quarter guidance on demand for 3G and 4G cellular phone components.

Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) is down 19.7% at $25.60. The mattress maker posted poor quarterly results, lowered full-year guidance, and is being sued over its proposed merger with Sealy Corp. (NYSE: ZZ). More coverage here.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ATI) is down 11.6% at $27.94. The specialty metals maker reported weak earnings this morning and warned that the fourth-quarter would be worse.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – Durable goods orders
  • 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
  • 8:30 a.m. – Chicago Fed national activity index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Pending home sales index
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
  • 11:00 a.m. – Kansas City Fed manufacturing index
  • 1:00 p.m. – 7-year Treasury note auction
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply

Paul Ausick