August 8, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning after China reported that its trade surplus narrowed to $17.1 billion in July, well below an expected surplus of $27.2 billion. Elsewhere in Asia, the Bank of Japan left its interest rate unchanged, while the country’s current account surplus was smaller than expected pushing the Nikkei down 1.6% at close. In Europe, Germany reported a larger than expected trade surplus. In the U.S., new claims for unemployment benefits ticked higher for the past week.
The U.S. dollar index is trading lower today, now down 0.34% at 81.0070. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.8% at 629.70. WTI crude oil closed down 0.9% today, at $103.40 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.7% at $106.70 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.2% today at about $3.32 per million BTUs following the weekly storage report. Gold for December delivery settled up 1.9% today at $1,309.90 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 27 points to 15,498.32 (0.18%), the NASDAQ rose about 15 points (0.41%) to 3,669.12, and the S&P 500 rose 0.39% or more than 6 points to 1,697.48.
- Endo Health Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: ENDP) started as ‘buy’ with a $43 price target at Citigroup;
- Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) raised to ‘overweight’ with a $38 price target at Evercore;
- Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) cut to ‘underperform’ with $10 price target at Sterne Agee;
- Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-A) cut to ‘equal weight’ at Morgan Stanley; and
- Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) cut to ‘neutral’ at J.P. Morgan.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:
- Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) is up 4.9% at $87.16;
- American Water Works Company Inc. (NYSE: AWK) is up 0.2% at $42.55;
- CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is down 5.5% at $34.40;
- SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) is down 10.3% at $38.10 after weak earnings;
- Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is up 14.3% at $153.40 after posting a new 52-week high of $158.88 on surprisingly strong earnings;
- Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is down 8% at $13.17 after decent earnings;
- Dean Foods Inc. (NYSE: DF) is down 7.4% at $10.20;
- Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) is up 10.6% at $3.28;
- Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ: LINE) is down 6.8% at $25.31;
- Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD) is up 9.1% at $52.69; and
- Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS) is up 15.5% after a good earnings report and forecast.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Air Lease Corp. (NYSE: AL), Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF), Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP), Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST), Noodles & Co. (NASDAQ: NDLS), Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN), Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX), Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR), and James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is up 21.6% at $10.61 after posting a new 52-week high of $11.22 earlier today. The social game maker had good earnings and a new CEO helped as well.
Fusion-io Inc. (NYSE: FIO) is down 24.1% at $11.32 after posting a new 52-week low of $11.11 earlier today. The data storage company posted poor quarterly results.
Opexa Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: OPXA) is down 52.1% at $1.40. The development drug company held a secondary offering today, after yesterday’s 130% share price run-up.
Stay tuned for Friday. We have noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 10:00 a.m. – Wholesale trade