U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning following a report from China that the country’s industrial production rose 9.3% in April, a smaller rise than economists expected. China also reported retail sales up 12.8%, inline with expectations, and fixed asset investment up 20.6%, just under the expectation of 21%. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose more than 1% today as the yen fell to more than 102 against the U.S. dollar. There was no economic data of note in Europe. In the U.S., April retail sales posted a surprising 0.1% gain, even though sales at gasoline stations declined by 4.7% in the month.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.16% today, now at 83.2770. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.9% at 629.36. WTI crude oil closed down 0.9%, at $95.17 a barrel on more news of plentiful crude oil supplies. Brent crude trades down 1.1% at $102.80 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.4% today at about $3.93 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.2% today at $1,434.30.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 26 points to 15,091.91 (-0.18%), the NASDAQ rose about 2 points (0.06%) to 3,438.79, and the S&P 500 was flat at 1,633.77.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
Autozone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank;
Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ: ESRX) raised to ‘buy’ at Jefferies;
T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS;
Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) raised to ‘overweight’ at Barclays; and
Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) raised to ‘outperform’ at Keefe Bruyette Woods..
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday have resulted in some price changes for reporting companies as of the last half hour of trading today:
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings from Copa Holdings SA (NYSE: CPA), Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN), Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ: PAAS), and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS.PA).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is up 12.3% at $86.22, after posting a new all-time high of $87.29 earlier today. The all-electric automaker continues to bask in the glow of its first ever quarterly profit.
Warner Chilcott plc (NASDAQ: WCRX) is up 5.2% at $18.95. The generic drugs maker is confirmed to be in merger discussions with Actavis Inc. (NYSE: ACT), although no details have been revealed. The stock’s 52-week high is $22.11.
Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) is down 1.7% at $7.22. The rare earths miner is giving back of some of its 30% gain last Friday, following a good report on earnings.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – National Federation of Independent Business optimism index
- 8:30 a.m. – Import and export prices
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
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