U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning and continued a slow downward slide throughout the day. In Europe, flash PMI data from the eurozone came in below expectations on both manufacturing and non-manufacturing (more coverage here). Among individual countries, France and Germany both performed short of expectations on both indexes. There was no significant data out today in Asia, but S&P noted downside risk in China due to over-investment. In the U.S., investors were drenched with data today, most of it unhappy. New jobless claims came in higher than expected, as did core inflation (more coverage here). The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey was disappointing and the leading indicators did not point up (more coverage here). The only good thing to say about today’s market activity is that it could have been worse.
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.44% today, now at 81.417. The GSCI commodity index is down 1.1% at 668.28, with commodities prices mostly lower today on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed down 2.5% today, at $92.84 a barrel, following a sharp rise in crude inventory (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 1.7% at $113.64 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.1% today at about $3.24 per million BTUs following a brief rise following today’s storage report (more coverage here). Gold settled up fractionally today at $1,578.60 an ounce, its first rise in six days.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 47 points to 13,880.01 (-0.34%), the NASDAQ fell almost 33 points (-1.04%) to 3,131.49, and the S&P 500 fell -0.63% or more than 9 points to 1,502.38.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) price target raised to $1,000 at Bernstein (more coverage here); Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) cut to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup; Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) raised to ‘overweight’ and price target raised to $8.00 at Piper Jaffray; and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) raised to ‘outperform’ at Oppenheimer.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) is up 2% at $14.90; Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE: ETP) is down 0.4% at $46.67; Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ: PAAS) is up 6.3% at $16.55; Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is down 9% at $35.06 (more coverage here); Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE: WLT) is down 7.1% at $34.16; Yamana Gold Inc. (NYSE: AUY) is up 5.2% at $15.15; Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ: CG) is down 7.3% at $33.98; Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down 0.4% at $20.16 (more coverage here); Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE: CDE) is up 2.8% at $19.34; Ensco PLC (NYSE: ESV) is down 1.2% at $62.47; Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) is up 14.3% at $23.00 after posting a new 52-week high of $23.96 earlier today (more coverage here); and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is up 1.8% at $70.48 (more coverage here).
After markets close today and before they open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU), American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), Frontier Communications Inc. (NYSE: FTR), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Marvell Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MRVL), Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), and Eldorado Gold Corp. (NYSE: EGO).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
ParkerVision Inc. (NASDAQ: PRKR) is up 72.4% at $4.19 after posting a new 52-week high of $4.24 earlier today. The RF technology provider got a favorable court ruling in its patent infringement case against Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM). More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Friday. Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren are giving speeches. No data releases are scheduled for tomorrow.