24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- November 12, 2012: Markets Open Today, But Not Much Action (GRMN, CHK, JCP, DIS, GRPN, CRDN, DHI, BAGL, JEC, WFT, DKS, HD, KORS, SKS, TJX, TIE, PCP, JEF, LUK, BZH)

U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning on a day when most government offices and banks are closed in observance of Veteran’s Day. Asian markets were muddled this morning as reports came out that Chinese exports grew more than 11% in October, but bank lending was down. Japan’s third quarter GDP declined, and the “one world, one economy” idea has virtually replaced the idea that emerging economies are somehow insulated from the travails of developed economies (more coverage here). In Europe, Greece faces a €5 billion payment this week and a bond sale set for tomorrow has only been subscribed to the tune of about €3.5 billion. Markets have swung both below and above the neutral line today, and closed essentially flat for the day.

The U.S. dollar index rose slightly today, now up 0.02% at 81.042. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 636.41, with commodities prices mostly lower today (more coverage here). WTI crude oil closed down 0.6% today, at $85.57 a barrel. Brent crude trades down about 0.6% at $108.92 a barrel. Natural gas is up 1.8% today at about $3.57 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed unchanged today at $1,730.90 an ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down less than 2 points to 12,8114.16 (-0.01%), the NASDAQ fell less than 1 point (-0.02%) to 2,904.26, and the S&P 500 rose 0.01% or less than 1 point to 1380.00.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) maintained as ‘hold’ at Argus, but warns of possible ‘sell’ rating reinstatement; J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) cut to ‘underperform’ at Credit Suisse; The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; and Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) cut to ‘market perform’ at William Blair.

Earnings reports of interest since U.S. markets closed last Friday were few and have resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDN) is up 0.03% at $34.98; and DR Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) is down 5.9% at $19.38.

After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. (NASDAQ: BAGL), Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC), Weatherford International Inc. (NYSE: WFT), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS), and The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX).

We also noted short interest changes through the end of October in semiconductors, solar stocks, biotech stocks, cult stocks, dividend stocks, and oil & gas stocks.

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Titanium Metals Corp. (NYSE: TIE) is up 42.4% at $16.48 after posting a new 52-week high of $16.56 earlier today. The producer of titanium melted and milled products is being acquired by Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) for $2.9 billion. More coverage here.

Jefferies Group Inc. (NYSE: JEF) is up 13.8% at $16.24. The investment banker is being acquired Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE: LUK) for around $3 billion. More coverage here.

Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH) is down 17.9% at $13.66. The homebuilder reported a worse-than-expected loss this morning. More coverage here.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. Fed Vice-chair Janet Yellen is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Businesses small business optimism index
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions
  • 2:00 a.m. – Treasury budget

Paul Ausick

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