24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- Friday: Markets Open Low, Close Mixed

U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning after hearing that U.S. GDP growth in the first quarter came in at 2.5%, well below the expected 3.1% (more coverage here). U.S. consumer sentiment also fell, but not by as much as expected (more coverage here). In Europe, French consumer confidence was unchanged and a few other data points came in pretty much as expected. In Asia, the Bank of Japan maintained both its interest rate and asset purchase program at previous levels and its core CPI fell 0.5%. Industrial production fell in Singapore by 4.1% following a 16.3% decline last month.

The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.30% today, now at 82.492. The GSCI commodity index is up 1.7% at 625.15. WTI crude oil closed down 0.7%, at $93.00 a barrel, but closed the week up 5.4%. Brent crude trades down 0.5% at $102.88 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.4% today at about $4.17 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.6% today at $1,453.60 an ounce, but held a gain of 4.2% for the week.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 13 points to 14,713.85 (0.09%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 11 points (-0.33%) to 3,279.26, and the S&P 500 fell -0.18% or about 3 points to 1,582.25.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) raised to ‘buy’ at BB&T; SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) raised to ‘outperform’ at Baird (more coverage here); Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (NYSE: BUD) cut to ‘conviction sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) raised to ‘strong buy’ at Raymond James; and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a price target of $65 at Argus.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is down 6.7% at $256.32 (more coverage here); Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) is down 7.8% at $85.12; Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) is up 3.8% at $3.44; Coinstar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) is down fractionally at $55.00; HealthSouth Corp. (NYSE: HLS) is up 2.2% at $27.13 after posting a new 52-week high of $27.99 earlier today; Olin Corp. (NYSE: OLN) is down 5.6% at $24.53; Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC) is down 4.3% at $74.16; Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) is down 0.8% at $60.03; Wynn Resorts, Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) is up 0.8% at $136.02; Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is down 4.3% at $1.34; Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) is up 1.1% at $18.26; Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is up 1.5% at $120.23 (more coverage here); National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) is down 1.3% at $66.34 (more coverage here); and VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) is down 2.2% at $174.83.

Before markets open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear earnings reports from Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN), Loews Corp. (NYSE: L), Senior Housing Properties Trust (NYSE: SNH), and Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is up 13.8% at $17.34. The retailing giant got a major investment yesterday from George Soros. More coverage here.

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is up 7% at $3.35. The social games company is gaining back its loss following a poor earnings report on Wednesday night that weighed on the stock yesterday.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) is down 2.7% at $18.55. The gold miner is getting hit by today’s drop in gold prices.

Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 8:30 a.m. – Personal income and outlays
  • 10:00 a.m. – Pending home sales index
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing survey
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

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