U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning following an unexpected 0.25% cut in Australia's key interest rate to a new level of 2.75%. Japan's Nikkei reopened today after a two-day holiday and buyers were in abundance (more coverage here). In Europe, industrial production in France fell 0.9%, which was more than the expected drop of 0.3%. France's trade deficit came in higher than expected as well today. In the U.S., the Fed reported this afternoon that consumer debt rose by just $8 billion in March, half the amount expected by economists (more coverage here). The U.S. Treasury also auctioned 4-week bills today at a zero interest rate (more coverage here). Both the DJIA and the S&P 500 indexes posted new all-time highs today.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.06% today, now at 82.265. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.3% at 632.74. WTI crude oil closed down 0.6%, at $95.62 a barrel, following a report that Saudi Arabian production rose in April and that demand in the U.S. will be lower this year (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 1% at $104.39 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.1% today at about $3.93 per million BTUs. Gold settled down 1.3% today at $1,448.80.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 87 points to 15,056.28 (0.58%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 4 points (0.11%) to 3,396.63, and the S&P 500 rose 0.52% or more than 8 points to 1,625.96.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) cut to 'sell' at Goldman Sachs;
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) started as 'underperform' at Wells Fargo;
Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) resumed as 'sell' at Goldman Sachs;
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) raised to 'outperform' at Wells Fargo; and
Sanchez Energy Corp. (NYSE: SN) started as 'buy' at SunTrust.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) is down 1% at $86.79 after posting a new 52-week high of $89.72 earlier today;
- First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is down 8.9% at $43.43 (more coverage here);
- Plains All American Pipeline L.P. (NYSE: PAA) is up 1.9% at $58.32 after posting a new 52-week high of $58.51 earlier today;
- Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) is down 1.3% at $86.72;
- Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) is up 1.8% at $26.42;
- Checkpoint Systems Inc. (NYSE: CKP) is up 4.1% at $12.10;
- DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is up 6.6% at $61.80 after posting a new 52-week high of $62.06 earlier today (more coverage here);and
- Fossil Inc. (NASDAQ: FOSL) is up 9.1% at $107.93.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings reports from American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK), Demand Media Inc. (NYSE: DMD), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Fuel Tech Inc. (NASDAQ: FTEK), Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), SandRidge Energy Inc. (NYSE: SD), Zillow Inc. (NASDAQ: Z), AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB), Wendy's Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) and Vivus Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Aruba Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: ARUN) is down 23% at $16.99. The network equipment maker warned on earnings this morning.
Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (NYSE: ALU) is up 9.5% at $1.44. The networking company held its annual meeting today and shareholders are willing to be patient. More coverage here.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is down 3.5% at $3.52. The mobile phone maker's shareholders are not as patient as Alcatel Lucent's.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Fed Governor Jeremy Stein is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 10:30 a.m. – EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. – 10-year note auction
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, HI/LOW, Market Close Tagged: ANF, ANR, AOL, APC, AWK, CKP, CRZO, DMD, DTV, EA, ENB, FOSL, FSLR, FTEK, INCY, JCP, KGC, MRO, PAA, SD, SN, VNO, VVUS, WEN, Z