U.S. equity markets opened slightly lower this morning after the Bank of England left its key interest rate and asset purchase program unchanged (more coverage here). In Asia, China's consumer price index rose 2.4% year-over-year and 0.2% in the last month, a bit more than expected on both measures and largely due to food price increases (more coverage here). In the U.S., the number of new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 5-year low and continuing claims fell by 27,000 (more coverage here). The three major indexes all closed the day down slightly, right about where the opened.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 1.01% today, now at 82.710. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.4% at 632.85. WTI crude oil closed down 0.2%, at $96.39 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.1% at $104.41 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.2% today at about $3.99 per million BTUs, after a larger-than-expected inventory build (more coverage here). Gold settled down 0.4% today at $1,468.60.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 22 points to 15,082.62 (-0.15%), the NASDAQ fell about 4 points (-0.12%) to 3,409.17, and the S&P 500 fell -0.37% or about 6 points to 1,626.67.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) cut to 'underperform' at Raymond James;
American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) raised to 'outperform' at Wells Fargo;
Fluor Corp. (NYSE: FLR) started as 'buy' with a price target of $84 at Deutsche Bank;
Sina Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA) raised to 'overweight' at HSBC; and
Tumi Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TUMI) cut to 'neutral' at Citigroup.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is up 11.9% at $6.26 (more coverage here);
Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR) is down 0.8% at $84.24;
Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST) is down 7.1% at $52.95 (more coverage here);
Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) is down 6.7% at $0.29;
Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) is down 24.5% at $39.42;
Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) is down 0.5% at $54.98;
Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) is up 0.8% at $95.00;
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is up 1.6% at $15.72;
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE: CDE) is down 5.3% at $14.41; and
Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) is down 2.2% at $38.76 (more coverage here).
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings reports from magicJack Vocaltec Ltd. (NASDAQ: CALL), Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP), Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: UEPS), Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA), priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN), TheStreet Inc. (NASDAQ: TST), and Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Affymax Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFY) is up 25.7% at $1.81. The biopharmaceutical firm continues to rise on no news. Be careful though, forward P/E is negative, even after two days of gains in the neighborhood of 20% each.
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is up 32.1% at $73.67 after posting a new all-time high of $75.77 earlier today. The all-electric car maker reported a profit for the first quarter, and the bulls cannot be stopped.
Windstream Corp. (NASDAQ: WIN) is down 4% at $8.18. The communications and technology solutions company posted unappealing results and the stock's massive dividend could be a casualty. More coverage here.
Stay tuned for Friday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Kansas City Fed President Esther George are giving speeches. We have also noted the following event on the schedule (all times Eastern):
2:00 p.m. – Treasury Budget
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, HI/LOW, Market Close Tagged: AFFY, AGU, AWK, CALL, CDE, CLNE, CLR, CVC, DISH, FLR, GRPN, HL, MCP, MNST, NVDA, PCLN, PEIX, RAX, RIG, SINA, TSLA, TST, TUMI, UEPS, WIN