24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 26, 2012: Markets Wiggle Higher Finally (AAPL, P, PSX, KMX, CME, RCL, AMZN, BYI, CLWR, CSTR, HLS, CMCSA, KKR, MRK, OSK, WY, PBR, BKW, HRS, L, LUFK, EDU, PCG, SNH, ACI, DV, CTCT)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened flat this morning following a disappointing quarterly report from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) last night (more coverage here) which weighed on Asian tech stocks particularly. The Bank of Japan is apparently still considering more stimulus, which helped soften the drop somewhat. In Europe Spain reported an unemployment rate of 25% (more coverage here), and S&P lowered its economic risk score on France citing exposure at the country’s banks to a longer recession in the eurozone. The advance U.S. GDP growth number came in at 2% this morning, in line with expectations (more coverage here) and the consumer sentiment index dropped slightly but there was some good news to be had from today’s numbers (more coverage here). Equities finished mixed today, with slight gains for the DJIA and the Nasdaq and a slight loss for the S&P 500.

The U.S. dollar index rose slightly today, now up 0.03% at 80.068. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 637.47, with commodities prices mostly lower again today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.3% today, at $86.28 a barrel, but the price fell 4% for the week. Brent crude trades up 1% at $109.55 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.3% today at about $3.39 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,711.90 an ounce, down less than 0.1% for the day and ended the week off 0.7%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 4 points to 13,107.37 (0.03%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 2 points (0.06%) to 2,987.95, and the S&P 500 fell -0.07% or about 1 point to 1,411.95.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) cut to ‘neutral’ at HSBC; Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) raised to ‘outperform’ at Raymond James; and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is down 0.7% at $605.31 (more coverage here); Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is up 6% at $236.27 (more coverage here); Bally Technologies Inc. (NYSE: BYI) is up 5.6% at $49.88 after posting a new 52-week high today of $51.16; Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) is up 4.2% at $1.88 (more coverage here); Coinstar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) is up 4.1% at $45.01; Healthsouth Corp. (NYSE: HLS) is up 0.9% at $22.85; Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is up 3.6% at $37.66 after posting a new 52-week high of $37.78 earlier today (more coverage here); KKR & Co. LP (NYSE: KKR) is down 0.9% at $14.71; Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) is down fractionally at $46.28 (more coverage here); Oshkosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK) is up 0.8% at $29.98 (more coverage here); and Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY) is up 0.3% at $27.38 (more coverage here).

Before markets open on Monday we are scheduled to hear from Petroleo Brasileiro SA, aka Petrobras, (NYSE: PBR), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW), Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS), Loews Corp. (NYSE: L), Lufkin Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: LUFK), New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE: EDU), PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG), and Senior Housing Properties Trust (NYSE: SNH).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is up 10.5% at $8.07. The coal miner reported sharply better results than expected this morning. More coverage here.

DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV) is up 24.9% at $26.01. The for-profit education company posted better than expected results and, more important, enrollment gains in some of its programs.

Constant Contact Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT) is down 29.8% at $11.96 after posting a new 52-week low of $11.90 earlier today. The online marketing provider lowered guidance after posting decent results last night.

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

  • 8:30 a.m. – Personal income and outlays
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

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