U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning not on any particular news, but likely more influenced by tomorrow’s start of the Fed’s June meeting and Wednesday’s announcement of interest rates. Shares traded higher until the Financial Times reported in mid-afternoon that the Fed would begin to taper its asset purchases. Treasury yields rose and prices fell. In Europe, the eurozone trade surplus came in lower than expected. In Asia, the Nikkei closed up nearly 3%, ending a string of losses, while Chinese investors are worried about the country’s massive credit bubble. In the U.S. the Empire State manufacturing index looked good, but looks can be deceiving. The homebuilders’ confidence index rose to a seven-year high in June.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.20% today, now at 80.8280. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.8% at 631.24. WTI crude oil closed down fractionally today, at $97.77 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.5% at $105.38 a barrel. Natural gas is up 3.8% today at about $3.87 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 0.3% today at $1,383.10.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 110 points to 15,179.85 (0.73%), the NASDAQ rose more than 28 points (0.83%) to 3,452.13, and the S&P 500 rose 0.76% or more than 12 points to 1,639.04.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) cut to ‘market perform’ at Raymond James;
- Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) raised to ‘strong buy’ at Raymond James;
- Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) started as ‘overweight’ at Global Equities;
- Eni SpA (NYSE: E) cut to ‘underperform’ at BNP Paribas; and
- ChannelAdvisor Corp. (NYSE: ECOM) exited its post-IPO quiet period today with recommendations of ‘buy’ from Goldman Sachs, Needham, and Stifel Nicolaus, and a rating of ‘outperform’ at Raymond James.
There have been no notable earnings since Friday night’s closing bell.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is down 5.5% at $5.67. The coal miner’s stock dropped as more data piles up showing declining demand from China.
Kandi Technologies Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KNDI) is up 29% at $8.09. The electric car maker said today that the city of Hangzhou would deploy 5,000 to 10,000 of the firm’s cars in the city’s ride sharing program.
Amicus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FOLD) is down 21.6% at $2.50 after posting a new 52-week low of $2.30 earlier. The biopharmaceutical firm said today that an experimental drug for Fabry disease will be delayed by as much as a year.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day meeting. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
- 8:30 a.m. – Housing starts
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction