U.S. equity markets opened slightly higher this morning and spent most of the day bouncing around above the break-even line. In Asia, the Bank of Japan will double its monthly asset purchases to nearly $73 billion and is likely to boost its inflation target as well (more coverage here). Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for a holiday. In Europe, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England left key interest rates unchanged today, as expected. Eurozone non-manufacturing PMI was slightly down, but both Germany and France posted declines (more coverage here). In the U.S., new claims for jobless benefits were higher than expected (more coverage here).
The U.S. dollar index is down 0.1% today, now at 82.639. The GSCI commodity index is down 2% at 638.67. WTI crude oil closed down 1.3% today, at $93.26 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.7% at $106.11 a barrel. Natural gas is up 1% today at about $3.92 per million BTUs following an expected inventory drawdown (more coverage here). Gold settled down 0.1% today at $1,552.40 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 56 points to 14,606.18 (0.38%), the NASDAQ rose more than 6 points (0.20%) to 3,224.98, and the S&P 500 rose 0.40% or more than 6 points to 1,559.98.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) started as ‘buy’ with price target of $540 at Lazard; CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) raised to ‘overweight’ at J.P. Morgan; Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) cut to ‘sector perform’ at RBC Capital Markets (more coverage here); US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and Alcatel-Lucent SA (NYSE: ALU) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in a few price move today: Dominion Diamond Corp. (NYSE: DDC), formerly Harry Winston Diamond Corp., is up 4.1% at $16.36; Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE: GBX) is down 3.5% at $21.04 (more coverage here); and RPM International Inc. (NYSE: RPM) is down 1.7% at $30.24.
There are no earnings of note scheduled before markets open tomorrow morning.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is up 15.5% at $25.00 after posting a new 52-week high of $25.12 earlier today. The consumer electronics retailer has completed a deal with Samsung to offer the Korean company’s products in special locations in Best Buy stores. More coverage here.
Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC) is down 7.2% at $52.01 after posting a new 52-week low of $50.40 earlier today. The data warehousing firm’s revenue estimates were cut by analysts at Morgan Stanley.
Exide Technologies (NASDAQ: XIDE) is down 46% at $1.41 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.16 earlier today. The battery maker has hired restructuring advisers according to a report at Debtwire.
Stay tuned for Friday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate
- 8:30 a.m. – International trade
- 3:00 p.m. – Consumer credit