24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — September 28, 2012: Markets Sag as Quarter Ends (CAT, MCD, QCOM, APA, PFE, RIMM, NKE, ACN, AM, FINL, WAG, CALM, FGP, SURG, MDRX, ADTN, FB)

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower this morning following a weaker-than-expected report on U.S. personal income and inline personal consumption spending (more coverage here). U.S. markets followed Europe, where today's data releases were not particularly poor, but not upbeat at all. Eurozone inflation ticked higher (more coverage here) and concerns over Spanish banks' stress test results kept equities in the red (more coverage here). In Asia, a weak report on industrial production in Japan offset speculation about more stimulus in China. U.S. consumer sentiment continues low (more coverage here) and Chicago PMI posted a surprising reading that fell on the contraction side of the line (more coverage here).

The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.41% at 79.876. The GSCI commodity index is up 1.3% at 660.26, with commodities prices mostly higher. WTI crude oil closed up 0.5% today, at $92.23 a barrel, to close the quarter up 7%. Brent crude trades up 0.24% at $112.28 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.7% today to $3.32 per thousand cubic feet. Gold closed at $1,773.90 an ounce, down 0.4%, but up 11% on the quarter (more coverage here).

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 50 points to 13,435.97 (-0.37%), the NASDAQ fell more than 20 points (-0.65%) to 3,116.23, and the S&P 500 fell -0.45% or more than 6 points to 1,440.65.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) cut to 'neutral' at BofA/ML; McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) cut to 'neutral' at Janney; Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) started as 'buy' at Brean Murray; Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) maintained as 'hold' but estimates lowered at Argus; and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) started as 'outperform' at BMO.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) is up 7.1% at $7.65 (more coverage here); Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is down 1.1% at $94.93 (more coverage here); Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN) is up 7% at $69.95 after posting a new 52-week high of $70.64 earlier today; American Greetings Corp. (NYSE: AM) is down 1% at $16.84; Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) is down 0.1% at $22.72 (more coverage here); and Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) is down 0.8% at $36.31 after posting a new 52-week high of $36.90 earlier today (more coverage here).

Before markets open on Monday we are scheduled to hear from Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM), Ferrellgas Partners LP (NYSE: FGP), and Synergetics USA Inc. (NASDAQ: SURG).

Some standouts from today include the following stocks:

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX) is up 13% at $12.31. The electronic health records provider has been reported to be looking to sell the company.

ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) is down 9.8% at $17.27. The network equipment maker revised quarterly revenues and earnings downward. The news hit other network equipment makers as well.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is up 6.6% at $21.65. The social network announced a new retail feature yesterday, giving rise to hopes that the company will pump up its revenues and profits.

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

  • 9:00 a.m. – PMI manufacturing index

  • 10:00 a.m. – Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index

  • 10:00 a.m. – Construction spending

  • 11.30 a.m. – 3- and 6-month bill auctions

Have a great weekend!

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, HI/LOW, Market Close Tagged: ACN, ADTN, AM, APA, CALM, CAT, FB, FGP, FINL, MCD, MDRX, NKE, PFE, QCOM, RIMM, SURG, WAG