July 30, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning as traders and investors wait for tomorrow’s announcement from the FOMC. There was little economic data published today. In the U.S., the S&P Case-Shiller house price index posted another sharp jump in May. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index came in lower than expected.
The U.S. dollar index is trading higher today, now at 81.8620. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.1% at 636.48. WTI crude oil closed down 1.4% today, at $103.08 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.8% at $106.69 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.3% today at about $3.43 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 0.4% today at $1,324.80 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down less than 2 points to 15,520.59 (-0.01%), the NASDAQ rose more than 17 points (0.48%) to 3,616.47, and the S&P 500 rose 0.04% or less than 1 point to 1,685.96.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades<> today, including:
- Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ: NDAQ) cut to ‘sell’ and price target cut to $28 at Goldman Sachs;
- Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) reiterated as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $84 at Argus;
- SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) cut to ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs;
- D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) cut to ‘underperform’ at Raymond James; and
- Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:
- Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) is up 0.3% at $88.92;
- Bankrate Inc. (NYSE: RATE) is up 17.2% at $18.49 after posting a new 52-week high of $19.75 earlier today;
- Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) is down 3% at $64.90;
- Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is down 0.3% at $60.40 after posting a new 52-week high of %66.23;
- 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) is down 5.1% at $47.99 on less-than-stellar earnings;
- Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) is down 0.4% at $63.15;
- Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is down 4.9% at $3.92 on a weak forecast;
- Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) is down 1.3% at $15.20;
- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is down 0.5% at $2.46;
- Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) is down 2.3% at $88.43;
- Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is up 0.7% at $29.74; and
- United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) is down 6.6% at $17.73.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Boston Beer Company Inc. (NYSE: SAM), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW), Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX), and Weatherford International Inc. (NYSE: WFT).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT) is down 16.2% at $31.76. The Canadian fertilizer maker after a Russian potash producer fled a cartel and threatened to go after market share by cutting prices.
Stereotaxis Inc. (NASDAQ: STXS) is up 233.1% at $5.92 after posting a new high of $6.90 earlier. The medical device maker received FDA clearance to market its robotic instrument navigation systems in the U.S.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is up 7.2% at $37.94. The social media company announced a new distribution system for games developers, on top of a very well-received earnings report last week. Just a few more pennies and the stock will hit its IPO price.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. The FOMC ends a two-day meeting today. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 8:15 a.m. – ADP employment report
- 8:30 a.m. – GDP report
- 8:30 a.m. – Employment cost report
- 9:45 a.m. – Chicago PMI
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 2:00 p.m. – FOMC meeting announcement
- 3:00 p.m. – Farm prices