U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning following a depressing report on U.S. GDP growth, which turned out to be negative (more coverage here). Even a good jobs report from ADP couldn’t overcome the story on GDP. In Europe, Spain’s prime minister said that changing the country’s deficit targets would send the wrong message, as if the country’s decline in GDP growth and record high unemployment hasn’t already telegraphed the message (more coverage here). In Asia markets rose when a Japan expert suggested that the country’s central bank could double its asset purchase program to reach the 2% inflation target. Afternoon trading slid to new lows following the FOMC announcement that interest rates would remain unchanged (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.4% today, now at 79.235. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 670.51, with commodities prices mostly higher again today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.4% today, at $97.94 a barrel following a sharp increase in crude oil inventories today (more coverage here). Brent crude trades up 0.5% at $114.93 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.3% today at about $3.23 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.5% today at $1,681.60 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down 44 points to 13,910.42 (-0.32%), the NASDAQ fell more than 11 points (-0.36%) to 3,142.31, and the S&P 500 fell -0.39% or nearly 6 points to 1,501.96.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Websense Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN) cut to ‘sell’ at Topeka Capital; JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ: JBLU) cut to ‘underperform’ at Raymond James; KB Home (NYSE: KBH) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse; Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) cut to ‘market perform’ at Bernstein; and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) raised to ‘outperform’ at Baird.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is up 4.4% at $271.84 after posting a new 52-week high of $284.79 earlier today (more coverage here); Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) is up 0.2% at $33.76 (more coverage here); Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL) is down 2.6% at $40.24 after putting up a new 52-week high of $42.79 earlier today; Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) is up 5.7% at $35.45 after posting a new 52-week high of $35.72 earlier today; The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is up 1.1% at $74.42 (more coverage here); The ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT) is up 3.6% at $48.17 after posting a new 52-week high of $49.16 earlier today; L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) is up 0.1% at $77.96; Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) is up 1.6% at $60.83 after posting a second consecutive 52-week high of $62.91 earlier today (more coverage here); Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) is down 0.5% at $66.43 (more coverage here); and Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) is down 0.1% at $44.56.
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN), Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL), Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (NASDAQ: DNKN), Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA), PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) is down 10.3% at $14.04. The smartphone maker changed its name to BlackBerry and launched two new smartphones today. More coverage here.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up 6.5% at $20.20. The natural gas producer lost its CEO last night — or did the board fire him? More coverage here.
Ventrus Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: VTUS) is down 22.9% at $2.53. The development stage pharmaceutical firm priced a secondary offering of 5.8 million shares at $2.50 a share, a discount of 24% to last night’s closing price.
Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – Challenger job-cut report
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 8:30 a.m. – Personal income and outlays
- 8:30 a.m. – Employment cost index
- 9:45 a.m. – Chicago PMI
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 3:00 p.m. – Farm prices
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply
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