24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell -- Tuesday: Markets Mixed at Open, Closes Slightly Higher

U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning as investors weighed conflicting data from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. In Europe, retail sales declined more than expected in Germany, Italy’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.5%, and eurozone inflation moderated to 1.2%, below a forecast for inflation of 1.6%. In Asia, Japanese industrial production rose less than expected, retail unexpectedly fell, and unemployment came in below expectations. In the U.S., the S&P Case-Shiller housing price index rose more than expected (more coverage here), while the Chicago PMI came in well below expectations and chilled investors for a spell this morning (more coverage here). The latest U.S. consumer confidence index came in higher than expected, which put some heat back into the morning trading session (more coverage here).

The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.47% today, now at 81.762. The GSCI commodity index is up 1.2% at 629.99. WTI crude oil closed down 1.1%, at $93.46 a barrel, down 3.9% for the month of April. Brent crude trades down 1.6% at $102.19 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.4% today at about $4.15 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.3% today at $1,472.10 an ounce, but lost 7.8% for the month, the largest drop in 16 months.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 20 points to 14,839.18 (0.14%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 22 points (0.66%) to 3,328.79, and the S&P 500 rose 0.24% or nearly 4 points to 1,597.45.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) initiated as ‘sector perform’ at RBC Capital Markets; Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD) cut to ‘hold’ at KeyBanc; Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank (more coverage here); PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) cut to ‘neutral’ at J.P. Morgan; and SINA Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Embraer SA (NYSE: ERJ) is up 6.7% at $34.94; Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) is up 1.6% at $59.38; General Growth Properties Inc. (NYSE: GGP) is up 2.2% at $22.50 after posting a new 52-week high of $22.80 earlier today; Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is up 2.7% at $39.78 (more coverage here); Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) is up 0.2% at $24.03 after posting a new 52-week high of $24.79 earlier today; Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) is down 5% at $32.27 after posting a new 52-week low of $31.33 earlier today; Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD) is up fractionally at $14.86; 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) is up 7.3% at $38.39; Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) is up 2.5% at $57.55 after posting a new 52-week high of $58.63 earlier today; Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (NYSE: BUD) is up 0.3% at $95.72; Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) is up 4.5% at $23.23 after posting a new 52-week high of $24.30 earlier today; BP plc (NYSE: BP) is up 2.3% at $43.61 (more coverage here); Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR) is down 5.5% at $3.25; Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) is down 4.9% at $78.39; Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) is up 4.9% at $3.88; United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) is up 0.3% at $17.59; and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is down 2.5% at $40.17 (more coverage here).

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings reports from Affymetrix Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFX), Bankrate Inc. (NYSE: RATE), Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP), Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPB), Trulia Inc. (NASDAQ: TRLA), Vanguard Health Systems Inc. (NYSE: VHS), ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT), Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC), Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA), and Viacom Corp. (NASDAQ: VIAB).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is up 5.5% at $3.24 after posting a new 52-week high of $3.25 earlier today. The satellite radio company posted good numbers and made permanent the hire of interim CEO James Meyer.

Delcath Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: DCTH) is down 39.8% at $0.84. The pharmaceutical and medical device maker will have to repeat a clinical trial.

Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) is down 16.6% at $13.52. The business equipment company had a 57% drop in profits and cut its dividend.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concludes a two-day meeting. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
  • 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
  • 8:58 a.m. – PMI manufacturing index
  • 10:00 a.m. – ISM manufacturing index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Construction spending
  • 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
  • 2:00 p.m. – FOMC meeting announcement

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