U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning but turned south early and finished the day with losses. In Europe, the German high court still continues to debate the constitutionality of the ECB’s OMT program, on the issue of whether or not the program represents monetary (OK) or fiscal policy (not OK). Eurozone industrial production rose, defying estimates, and the consumer price index in several EU nations rose about as expected. In Asia, Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges remained closed for a holiday. In Japan, volatility was the rule again today on the Nikkei, which closed down about 0.2% for the day.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.23% today, now at 80.9260. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.7% at 622.42. WTI crude oil closed up 0.5% today, at $95.88 a barrel, shrugging off another significant build in crude and gasoline inventories. Brent crude trades up 0.6% at $103.53 a barrel. Natural gas is up 1.5% today at about $3.78 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 1.1% today at $1,392.00.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 127 points to 14,994.77 (-0.84%), the NASDAQ fell more than 36 points (-1.06%) to 3,400.43, and the S&P 500 -0.84% or nearly 14 points to 1,612.52.
- Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs;
- American Water Works Co. (NYSE: AWK) raised to ‘overweight’ with a price target of $46 at HSBC;
- Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) raised to ‘outperform’ at Keefe Bruyette & Woods;
- Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) raised to ‘buy’ at Citi; and
- Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) cut to ‘market perform’ at Cowen & Co.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in one notable price move in the last half hour of trading today: Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) is up 15% at $96.76.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB) is up about 40.6% at $34.51 after posting a new 52-week high of $34.79 earlier today. The auto and truck tire maker is being acquired by India’s Apollo Tyres for $2.5 billion ($35 a share).
Kandi Technologies Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KNDI) is down 16.3% at $6.49. The electric car maker has been soaring recently and today’s pullback is likely some profit taking.
Stay tuned for Thursday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
- 8:30 a.m. – Retail sales
- 8:30 a.m. – Import and export prices
- 10:00 a.m. – Business inventories
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
- 1:00 p.m. – 30-year bond auction
- 4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply