Closing Bell for Friday on Wall Street: Markets Open Lower, Late Rally Boosts Finish

July 26, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning on a day when the only U.S. economic data of note was the revised University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment index, which came in above expectations. In Europe, the German import price index fell more than expected and consumer confidence was higher than expected in France. Greece received approval for its next bailout payment. In Asia, Japan’s CPI and core CPI both came in higher than expected.

The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.41% today, now at 81.6340. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.2% at 640.68. WTI crude oil closed down 1.4% today, at $103.98 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.6% at $107.00 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2% today at about $3.57 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 0.6% today at $1,321.50 an ounce, to close the week up 2.2%.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up about 2 points to 15,557.60 (0.02%), the NASDAQ rose about 8 points (0.22%) to 3,613.16, and the S&P 500 rose 0.08% or about 1 point to 1,691.65.

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

  • Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) cut to ‘market perform’ at Raymond James;
  • Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ: DECK) cut to ‘underperform with price target of $47 at Credit Suisse;
  • Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $160 at Deutsche Bank;
  • Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) raised to ‘overweight’ at both Morgan Stanley and Barclays; and
  • PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) raised to ‘outperform’ but price target cut to $21 at Credit Suisse.

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

Before markets open Monday morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), Loews Corp. (NYSE: L), Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG), Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU), and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) is up 14.9% at $17.44 after posting a new 52-week low of $17.76 earlier today. The video game maker has bought its independence from former parent Vivendi for about $8.2 billion.

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is down 14.7% at $2.98. The social games maker posted poor results last night, but its problems run deeper.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) is down 26.6% at $47.71 after posting a new 52-week low of $47.55 earlier today. The Internet travel company posted dismal results last night.

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

  • 10:00 a.m. – Pending home sales index
  • 10:30 a.m. – Dallas Fed manufacturing index
  • 11:30 p.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

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