July 15, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened slightly higher this morning but the report on U.S. retail sales pushed shares into the red early. A later report on business inventories helped pull stocks out of a hole. In Asia, Chinese GDP growth for the second quarter came in as expected at 7.5%. All other economic news out of China this morning was positive as well. In Europe, there was no economic data release of note. Tomorrow’s economic data in the U.S. includes CPI, industrial production, and the homebuilders housing market index.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.08% today, now at 83.0540. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.5% at 644.63. WTI crude oil closed up 0.4% today, at $106.32 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.3% at $109.10 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.9% today at about $3.68 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 0.5% today at $1,283.50.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 20 points to 15,484.26 (0.13%), the NASDAQ rose more than 7 points (0.21%) to 3,607.49, and the S&P 500 rose 0.14% or more than 2 points to 1,682.50.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) cut to ‘hold’ at BB&T;
- Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) cut to ‘market perform’ at BMO Capital Markets;
- NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanely;
- Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; and
- AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU) cut to ‘underperform’ at BMO Capital Markets.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in one price move today:
- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is up 2.1% at $51.86 after beating on profits and revenues.<>
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP) is up 114.3% at $17.10 after posting a new 52-week high of $17.25 earlier today. The wireless carrier is being acquired by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) for $15 a share. Investors clearly think the bidding will rise — and so do we.
LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) is up 22.6% at $1.76. The Chinese solar panel maker is the biggest gainer among solar shares today, following a Chinese government announcement on new solar installations in the country and how the government will pick its solar industry winners.
Inteliquent Inc. (NASDAQ: IQNT) is up 40.4% at $8.55. The Internet services provider boosted its quarterly estimates this morning.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. Kansas City Fed President Elizabeth George is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. – Consumer price index
- 9:00 a.m. – Treasury International Capital (TIC) data
- 9:15 a.m. – Industrial production
- 10:00 a.m. – National Association of Home Builders housing market index
- 11:30 a.m. – 4-week bill auction
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