U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning, kicking off a gradual decline that lasted all day. Profit-taking and a lower-than-expected reading on consumer sentiment in the U.S. get the blame. In Europe, CPI readings came in as expected, but unemployment was unexpectedly higher. In Asia, markets rose on speculation that China’s central bank would ease its interest rate over the weekend, adding a bit more liquidity to the country’s slowing economic growth. The report on industrial production indicates the U.S. industrial capacity is still underutilized.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.09% today, now at 80.6820. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.4% at 626.36. WTI crude oil closed up 1.2% today, at $98.25 a barrel to post a 1.9% gain for the week. Brent crude trades up 0.8% at $105.77 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2% today at about $3.74 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.7% today at $1,387.60 to close the week up 0.4%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 106 points to 15,070.18 (-0.70%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 22 points (-0.63%) to 3,423.56, and the S&P 500 -0.59% or nearly 10 points to 1,626.72.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS;
- American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Barclays;
- SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse;
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD) cut to ‘neutral’ at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and
- Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) raised to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves in the last half hour of trading today:
- Capstone Turbine Corp. (NASDAQ: CPST) is down 9.4% at $1.16;
- Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RH) is up 16.6% at $68.75 after posting a new 52-week high of $70.41 earlier today;
- American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSC) is down 11.1% at $2.36; and
- Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE: SFD) is unchanged at $32.81, which is no surprise.
We are not scheduled to get any notable earnings before markets open Monday morning. Later next week we’ll get earnings reports from Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE), FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL), Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL), and Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE: WLT) is down 17.3% at $12.13 after posting a new 52-week low of $11.76 earlier today. The coal miner’s stock plunged following a report that it had canceled a proposed $1.55 billion loan refinancing.
Codexis Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS) is up 30.8% at $2.84. The biofuel and chemical production company announced that it had scaled up its production of detergent alcohols made from cellulosic sugars at its plant in Italy.
Myriad Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN) is down 13.8% at $27.61. The molecular diagnostic company lost a Supreme Court ruling in a patent case yesterday, and today’s reaction follows a slide following that ruling.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Empire State manufacturing survey
- 10:00 a.m. – Housing market index
- 11:30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions
Have a great weekend!
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