U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning after France reported a decline in industrial production and China reported consumer inflation up more than expected (more coverage here). There was no significant data reported in the U.S. today, so the weak opening eventually gave way to buying, pushing stocks into positive gains by around noon. The gains were modest with financial stocks leading the gains, while energy, technology, and telecom stocks trailed along. In Japan, the nominee for the central bank’s Board of Governors said he did not think that the current asset purchase plan was big enough to allow the country’s to reach its 2% inflation goal. The volatility index notched a six-year low today (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.12% today, now at 82.589. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.3% at 648.81, with commodities prices mixed again today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.1% today, at $92.06 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.7% at $110.10 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.4% today at about $3.65 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.1% today at $1,578.00 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 50 points to 14,447.22 (0.35%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 9 points (0.26%) to 3,252.87, and the S&P 500 rose 0.32% or about 5 points to 1,556.22.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) raised to ‘overweight’ at Piper Jaffray; Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) cut to ‘market perform’ at BMO; Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE: SFD) raised to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in several price moves today, including these: Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is down 14.6% at $3.19 (more coverage here); Chyron Corp. (NASDAQ: CHYR) is up 8.6% at $0.93; and Renren Inc. (NASDAQ: RENN) is up 0.7% at $3.09.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from CVR Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVI), Diamond Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND), Fuel Cell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL), Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN), Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT), and Stage Stores Inc. (NYSE: SSI)
Some standouts among high-volume stocks today include:
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is up 13.4% at $14.81. The mobile phone maker got a boost from an announcement that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) would begin accepting pre-orders tomorrow for the company’s first touchscreen phone. More coverage here.
Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is up 10.6% at $3.95. The game developer’s shares jumped this afternoon following an analyst’s comment that Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) may be interested in acquiring the company.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Business small business optimism index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
- 1:00 p.m. – 3-year note auction
- 2:00 p.m. – Treasury budget
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