Closing Bell for Monday on Wall Street: Markets Open Lower, Bounce Once, Then Go Flat

U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning but soon rose above the break-even line where it stayed until noon when share prices began to dip. That was quite a shift from Asian markets, where the three major indexes were all higher, with the Nikkei at a five-and-a-half year high. In Europe the only economic data of note came from Italy, where industrial new orders rose 1.6% in April and industrial sales declined 0.9%. In the U.S., there was no economic data of note released today. Gold and silver took a beating early, but came back to close higher. Remarks by Chicago Fed President William Evans, however, sent equities markets back into negative territory.

The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.6% today, now at 83.7490. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.7% at 632.05. WTI crude oil closed up 0.7%, at $96.71 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.1% at $103.80 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.9% today at about $4.09 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 1.4% today at $1,384.10.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 19 points to 15,335.28 (-0.12%), the NASDAQ fell more than 2 points (-0.07%) to 3,496.43, and the S&P 500 fell -0.07% or about 1 point to 1,666.29.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:

  • Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) cut to ‘sell’ at Stifel Nicolaus;
  • Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP) cut to ‘sell’ at Deutsche Bank;
  • J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) raised to ‘buy’ at Maxim Group;
  • Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; and
  • Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) raised to ‘equal weight’ at Barclays.

Earnings reports released since markets closed last Friday have resulted in some price changes for reporting companies as of the last half hour of trading today:

  • Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) is down 3.9% at $45.78 and
  • Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: QIHU) is up 6.6% at $43.77 after posting a new 52-week high of $45.11 earlier today.

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings from Kid Brands Inc. (NYSE: KID), TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS), TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX), and Vodafone plc (NASDAQ: VOD).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

National Bank of Greece SA (NYSE: NBG) is down 34% at $1.58. The Greek bank’s shares gave back last week’s gains after announcing a 1-for-10 reverse split and an issuance of 2.27 billion new shares following the split..

Real Goods Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: RSOL) is up 68% at $6.77, after posting a new 52-week high of $7.17 earlier today. The solar PV installation company has mysteriously appeared on investors’ radar screens and shares have more than tripled in the last 2 trading days.

JA Solar Holding Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) is up 69% at $9.46 after posting a new 52-week high of $9.53 earlier today. The solar PV panel maker reported earnings this morning, and they were better than expected..

Stay tuned for Tuesday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and New York Fed President William Dudley are giving speeches. We have also noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auctions

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