24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- October 29, 2012: Markets Closed as Hurricane Sandy Aims at New York (WIT, OFC, LOCK, JAKK, URI, PBR, BKW, HRS, L, LUFK, EDU, PCG, SNH, APC, FMC, AGN, ADM, CAR, AVP, BP, JCI, JDSU, STX, YNDX, RVBD, OPNT, EBAY, CLH)

U.S. stock markets were closed today as New York City and the entire East Coast of the country from the Carolinas to Maine prepare to deal with Hurricane Sandy. In New York, the subway has been closed as have commuter highway tunnels and some bridges. With U.S. markets closed the news centered on the effects the storm might have on global markets and on shares in some sectors, particularly U.S. insurance companies (more coverage here), financial institutions, and oil refineries (more coverage here). In Europe today, markets closed lower, and in Asia markets closed mixed as traders wait to see the impact of the storm on the U.S. The U.S. stock and bond markets will also be closed tomorrow (more coverage here).

The U.S. dollar index rose slightly today, now up 0.21% at 80.239. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 638.97, with commodities prices mostly lower again today. WTI crude oil closed down 0.9% in electronic trading today, at $85.54 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.13% at $109.41 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.2% today at about $3.47 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,708.70 an ounce, down 0.2% for the day.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Wipro Ltd. (NYSE: WIT) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Corporate Office Properties (NYSE: OFC) raised to ‘outperform’ at BMO Capital Markets; LifeLock Inc. (NYSE: LOCK) started as ‘buy’ at Needham , Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs; JAKKS Pacific Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) maintained as ‘underperform’ and named ‘Bear of the Day’ at Zacks; and United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) named ‘value stock of the day’ at Zacks.

There were several earnings reports today although, of course, there was no impact on share prices: Petroleo Brasileiro SA, aka Petrobras, (NYSE: PBR), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) (more coverage here), 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), Senior Housing Properties Trust (NYSE: SNH), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), and FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC).

Some firms that had been scheduled to report results this week have postponed their announcements due to the weather. We have a roundup of those we know about here. Others still scheduled to report earnings tomorrow include Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN), Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM), Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP), BP plc (NYSE: BP), Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI) JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU), Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), and Yandex NV (NASDAQ: YNDX).

Major stories from today include:

Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD) is acquiring smaller rival OPNET Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OPNT) for $43 a share in cash and stock, or about $1 billion. More coverage here.

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) today eliminated about 325 jobs at its PayPal subsidiary. More coverage here.

Clean Harbors Inc. (NYSE: CLH) will acquire oil recycler Safety-Kleen in an all-cash deal worth $1.25 billion. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. U.S. bond and equities markets are closed due to the weather tomorrow. New York Fed President William Dudley has cancelled a scheduled speech, but Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota is scheduled to give a speech Tuesday evening in Duluth. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:45 a.m. – ICSC-Goldman store sales
  • 8:55 a.m. – Redbook
  • 9:00 a.m. – S&P Case-Shiller house price index

Paul Ausick

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