U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning following a sell-off in Japan after the country’s central bank made no change either in the key interest rate or in the amount of bond purchases it would make. The bank’s action pushed down the price of the 30-year U.S. bond and pushed yields up to 3.43%. In Europe, the highest court in Germany began its hearing on whether or not the European Central Bank’s bond purchasing program is legal under German law. In the U.S., wholesale trade rose again in April, but not enough to move markets out of a funk.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.57% today, now at 81.1800. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.7% at 626.86. WTI crude oil closed down 0.5% today, at $95.32 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 1% at $102.89 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2% today at about $3.73 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.1% today at $1,377.00.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 116 points to 15,122.02 (-0.76%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 37 points (-1.06%) to 3,436.95, and the S&P 500 fell -1.02% or nearly 17 points to 1,626.13.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reiterated as ‘outperform’ with a $525 price target at Credit Suisse;
- The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) raised to ‘outperform’ at Macquarie;
- Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) cut to ‘hold’ at Canaccord Genuity;
- Moody’s Corp. (NYSE: MCO) cut to ‘hold’ at Benchmark; and
- Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) raised to ‘market perform’ at BMO Capital.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- Diamond Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND) is up 9.7% at $19.23;
- Majesco Entertainment Co. (NASDAQ: COOL) is down 5% at $0.58;
- Pep Boys – Manny Moe and Jack (NYSE: PBY) is down 1.6% at $12.36; and
- LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) is down 11% at $1.46.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings from Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) is down 17.3% at $68.01. The maker of yoga clothing reported earnings after the close yesterday, and announced that the CEO is leaving.
Dole Food Company Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) is up about 22% at $12.44. The fruit and vegetable producer has received an offer from its CEO to go private for $12 a share.
Questor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR) is up 14.8% at $42.10. The biopharmaceutical maker said this morning it will acquire a generic version of its Acthar Gel drug.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 10-year note auction
- 2:00 p.m. – Treasury budget
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