The three major U.S. stock indexes opened slightly higher this morning following a refusal by Spain's prime minister to seek an immediate bailout and low readings on eurozone PMI (more coverage here). In Asia, non-manufacturing PMI came in at a seven-month low and the Asian Development Bank forecast weak GDP growth throughout the region (more coverage here). In the U.S. the ADP employment survey posted better-than-expected growth (more coverage here) and the ISM non-manufacturing PMI reading posted another small increase (more coverage here). Equities posted daily highs around noon today and enthusiasm drained away in the afternoon.
The U.S. dollar index rose today, now up 0.27% at 79.962. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.4% at 664.18, with commodities prices mostly lower on the stronger greenback. WTI crude oil closed down 4.1% today, at $88.14 a barrel, a two-month low even following a drop in crude inventories (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 3.1% at $108.09 a barrel. Natural gas is down 3.4% today to $3.392 per thousand cubic feet. Energy prices are turning down on the weak economic news, which is expected to depress demand. Gold closed at $1,779.80 an ounce, up 0.2%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 12 points to 13,494.61 (0.09%), the NASDAQ rose about 15 points (0.49%) to 3,135.23, and the S&P 500 rose 0.36% or more than 5 points to 1,451.00.
There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) cut to 'neutral' at Lazard; Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) maintained as 'outperform' with a target price of $25 at Credit Suisse; McGraw Hill Companies Inc. (NYSE: MHP) started as 'buy' with a target price of $64 at UBS; Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) started as 'outperform' at William Blair; and Westport Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: WPRT) started as 'buy' with a target price of $38 at UBS.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading: Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) is up 3.6% at $68.40 (more coverage here); Monsanto Corp. (NYSE: MON) is down 2.4% at $88.44 (more coverage here); and RPM International Inc. (NYSE: RPM) is up 1.4% at $27.00.
Before markets open on Thursday we are scheduled to hear from Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) and International Speedway Corp. (NASDAQ: ISCA).
Some standouts from today include the following stocks:
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is down 12.6% at $14.97 after posting a new 52-week low of $14.89 earlier today. The computer maker lowered guidance and said it would be another three years before it was growing again. More coverage here.
Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) is up 176.9% at $41.50 after posting a new 52-week high of $43.50 earlier today. The biopharma company reported good results for its muscular dystrophy drug. More coverage here.
Vringo Inc. (NYSEMKT: VRNG) is up 29.5% at $4.00. The intellectual property company will get a chance to make its case against Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) in open court. More coverage here.
Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP) is down 20.6% at $6.03. The wireless carrier is suffering from the low value of the MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS) merger with T-Mobile USA. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Thursday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is giving a speech. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
7:30 a.m. – Challenger job-cut report
8:30 a.m. – New claims for unemployment benefits
10:00 a.m. – Factory orders
10.30 a.m. – EIA weekly natural gas storage report
2:00 p.m. – FOMC minutes
3:00 p.m. – Treasury STRIPS
4:30 p.m. – Fed balance sheet and money supply
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, HI/LOW, Market Close Tagged: CSCO, FDO, GOOG, HPQ, ISCA, KORS, LEAP, MAR, MHP, MON, MOS, PCS, RPM, SRPT, VRNG, WPRT