U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning after the report on non-farm payrolls showed a slightly larger rise than analysts had expected. State and local government jobs rose for the first time in months. In Europe, German exports rose sharply, but the country’s central bank has lowered its GDP forecasts for this year and next. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei experienced another volatile trading day before closing down slightly. The Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges also closed down. The Fed’s afternoon report on consumer credit showed non-revolving debt (student loans, auto loans) rising again. Markets rose slightly following the report, and closed the week on an upbeat note.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.13% today, now at 81.6470. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.3% at 628.70. WTI crude oil closed up 1.3%, at $96.03 a barrel, and closed out the week up about 4.4%. Brent crude trades up about 1% at $104.61 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.1% today at about $3.83 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 3.2% today at $1,383.00, and closed down 0.7% for the week.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 207 points to 15,247.89 (1.38%), the NASDAQ rose more than 45 points (1.32%) to 3,469.22, and the S&P 500 rose 1.28% or about 21 points to 1,643.33.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus on a preliminary IRS ruling;
- Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) cut to ‘neutral’ at Nomura;
- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), started as ‘outperform’ at Macquarie;
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) raised to ‘underperform’ at CLSA; and
- Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) raised to ‘buy’ at UBS.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night have resulted in the following price changes today:
- Quiksilver Inc. (NYSE: ZQK) is down 11.3% at $6.81;
- Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) is up 2.8% at $63.87;
- Christopher & Banks Corp. (NYSE: CBK) is up 2.3% at $6.99;
- Crossroads Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDS) is down 1% at $2.03; and
- JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) is up 9.5% at $9.27.
There are no company earnings reports of note scheduled for release before markets open on Monday.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Textura Corp. (NYSE: TXTR) is up 41.3% at $21.19. The construction industry software provider held its IPO today.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions