U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning on the heels of a solid report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls, which rose less than expected but on top of a large upward revision for December (more coverage here). In Europe, PMI data was released and, with the exception of the U.K., came in better than expected (more coverage here). The eurozone consumer price index came in at 2%, lower than the expected 2.2%. In Asian, China’s PMI fell short of expectations (more coverage here). After U.S. employment data, the consumer sentiment index rose more than expected, and ISM data and construction data both boosted investors’ sentiment (more coverage here). As a result, major equities indexes climbed for the whole day, although light after trading moderated the climb. The DJIA closed above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007.
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.1% today, now at 79.126. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.1% at 675.37, with commodities prices mostly higher today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.3% today, at $97.77 a barrel, up 2%% for the week. Brent crude trades up 1% at $116.67 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.3% today at about $3.30 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.5% today at $1,670.60 an ounce, up nearly 0.9% on the week.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 149 points to 14,009.79 (1.08%), the NASDAQ rose 37 points (1.18%) to 3,179.10, and the S&P 500 rose 1.01% or about 15 points to 1,513.17.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) raised to ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray; Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) cut to ‘market perform’ at Wells Fargo; Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE: EPD) cut to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse; Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/ML; and United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) cut to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Bally Technologies Inc. (NYSE: BYI) is up 1.3% at $48.80; Green Dot Corp. (NYSE: GDOT) is up 2.1% at $13.68; Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) is up 1% at $126.45 (more coverage here); Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is up 1.2% at $116.52 (more coverage here); Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is down fractionally at $89.93 (more coverage here); Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT) is up 1.3% at $38.12 after posting a new 52-week high of $38.55 earlier today; Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) is down 3.1% at $41.93; National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) is down 3.9% at $71.28 (more coverage here); and Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is up 2.8% at $22.73 after posting a new 52-week high of $23.00 earlier today.
After markets close today and before they open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear from Changyou.com Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYOU), Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG), and The Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is down 18% at $7.45. The biopharma stock is giving back gains approaching 100% for the week, likely on some profit-taking.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is down 4% at $29.74. The social network company sinks below $30 a share again, as analysts and investors try to figure out if the company’s business has a model.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month Treasury bill auctions
Have a great weekend!
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