Closing Bell for Monday on Wall Street: Markets Mixed at Open, Float to Gains

July 22, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning with the DJIA dipping on a poor earnings report from McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD). There was no economic data release of note in Europe today. In Asia, Hong Kong CPI came in as expected, up 4.1% year-over-year. The election sweep in Japan helped boost Asian markets today. In the U.S., the Chicago Fed’s national activity index improved slightly and existing home sales fell nearly 2%. The S&P 500 posted an intra-day high earlier today.

The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.45% today, now at 82.2230. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.1% at 650.66. WTI crude oil closed down 1.1% today, at $106.91 a barrel, closing out the trade in August futures. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $108.22 a barrel. Natural gas is down 3% today at about $3.68 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 3.3% today at $1,336.00 an ounce, the yellow metal’s biggest one-day gain in more than a year.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 2 points to 15,545.62 (0.01%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 13 points (0.36%) to 3,600.39, and the S&P 500 rose 0.20% or more than 3 points to 1,695.53.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) cut to ‘underperform’ at Oppenheimer;
  • General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) reiterated as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $28 at Argus;
  • Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) cut to ‘neutral’ at Wedbush;
  • VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) cut to ‘neutral’ and price target raised to $208 at Credit Suisse; and
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $90 at Goldman Sachs.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in some prices move today:

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

Himax Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: HIMX) is up 32.5% at $6.86. The Taiwanese flat panel display maker announced this morning that Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is taking a 6.3% stake in the company.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) is up 6.6% at $17.65. The gold miner’s stock is up on the sharp upward move in gold prices today.

Tower International Inc. (NYSE: TOWR) is down 13.6% at $19.87. The industrial maker of auto body parts will hold a secondary offering of 6 million shares for the benefit of its parent company.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 9:00 a.m. – FHFA house price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Richmond Fed manufacturing index
  • 11:30 a.m. 4- and 52-week bill auctions
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2-year note auction