July 9, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning on a day when there was no economic data due from the U.S. and only a bit from the rest of the world. In China, CPI was unchanged month-over-month, but the annual inflation rate rose to 2.7%. The higher-than-expected CPI rate is likely to keep the country’s central bank from adding more liquidity to the economy. In Europe, Britain’s industrial production rose 0.2%, as expected, but manufacturing production came in low and the country’s trade deficit was slightly higher than expected. The IMF released its annual assessment of the eurozone this morning, suggesting a number of actions that might be appropriate for the euro area to consider to bring its economy back to growth.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.48% today, now at 84.5960. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.1% at 634.83. WTI crude oil closed up 0.4% today, at $103.53 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $107.68 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.5% today at about $3.65 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 0.9% today at $1,245.90.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 75 points to 15,300.34 (0.50%), the NASDAQ rose more than 19 points (0.56%) to 3,504.26, and the S&P 500 rose 0.72% or nearly 12 points to 1,652.31.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $32 at Brean Capital;
- Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus;
- International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs;
- Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) started as ‘overweight’ with a price target of $77 at Piper Jaffray; and
- SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) reiterated as ‘buy’ with a price target of $70 at Sterne Agee.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) is down 0.3% at $7.91 after clearing a very low bar;
- WD-40 Co. (NASDAQ: WDFC) is down 1.2% at $56.98 after posting a new 52-week high of $64.23 earlier today; and
- Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. (NYSE: MHR is up 1.4% at $3.99.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is up 3.2% at $3.59. The Internet radio company boosted its subscriber outlook for this year, and the shorts ran for cover.
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG) is down 16.5% at $417.63 after posting a new 52-week low of $406.70 earlier today. The medical instruments company lowered its outlook for the second quarter and got hit with several downgrades.
Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is down 12.2% at $10.82. The solar PV maker has been identified as the recipient of an SEC subpoena in 2010 that is now being examined by in relation to failures by the Chinese subsidiaries of the Big Five U.S. accounting firms to turn over documents requested by the SEC.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is giving a speech after the markets close tomorrow. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:30 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 10-year note auction
- 2:00 p.m. – FOMC minutes