24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- January 28, 2013: Markets Open Mixed, Close Nearly Flat (AKS, HEP, NWSA, FB, BBY, CAT, ROP, SIFY, BIIB, YHOO, STX, VMW, STLD, BSX, DHI, F, BTU, PFE, VLO, KERX, JOSB, HLF)
U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning on relatively little new data. In Europe, Italian consumer confidence rose more than expected and Germany auctioned 12-month bills at a positive yield for the first time since last June. In Asia, Japan’s cabinet said it expects 2013 GDP growth to reach 2.5% and CPI growth of around 0.5%. A governor of the People’s Bank of China said he expects GDP growth in the Middle Kingdom to be 8% in 2013. Profits at China’s major industrial enterprises grew 5.3% last year. In the U.S., durable goods orders rose more than expected — 4.6% — and pending home sales were weaker than expected (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.05% today, now at 79.781. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.2% at 662.75, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.6% today, at $96.44 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $113.47 a barrel. Natural gas is down 4.5% today at about $3.29 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.2% today at $1,655.90 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 13 points to 13,882.31 (-0.10%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 5 points (0.10%) to 3,154.30, and the S&P 500 fell -0.18% or nearly 3 points to 1,500.18.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Holly Energy Partners LP. (NYSE: HEP) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley; Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) raised to ‘outperform’ at Raymond James; and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) raised to ‘buy’ at BB&T.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in several price moves today, including these: Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is up 1.7% at $97.20 (more coverage here); Roper Industries Inc. (NYSE: ROP) is down 0.2% at $118.55 after posting a new 52-week high of $120.67 earlier today; Sify Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: SIFY) is up 4.3% at $2.41; and Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is up 3% at $150.55 (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear from Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX), VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD), Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is up 82.5% at $6.26 after posting a new 52-week high of $6.86 earlier today. The biopharma company reported better-than-expected results in trials of a new kidney drug. More coverage here.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) is down 16.3% today at $38.72 after posting a low of $37.31. The apparel retailer issued a sharp warnings on quarterly earnings after markets closed last Friday.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is down 8.8% at $39.77. The nutritional and weight-loss products maker took some damage today from an announced prosecution of another multi-level marketing firm. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting today. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. – Case-Shiller house price index
- 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board consumer confidence
- 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week Treasury bill auction
- 1:00 p.m. – 5-year Treasury note auction