June 24, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning and spent the day trying to move back to break even with Friday's close. The U.S. markets got no help from Shanghai, where the main Chinese exchange closed down 5.3% today after the People's Bank of China let the country's banks know that they'd have to do a better job managing their cash. In Europe, the Ifo business climate for Germany rose as expected and Italy's trade surplus rose more than expected. In the U.S., the Dallas Fed reported a manufacturing surge in June and boosted its outlook.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.10% today, now at 82.3990. The GSCI commodity index is down1% at 610.04. WTI crude oil closed up 1.6% today, at $95.18 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $101.09 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.8% today at about $3.74 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 1.2%% today at $1,277.10.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 140 points to 14,659.71 (-0.94%), the NASDAQ fell more than 36 points (-1.09%) to 3,320.76, and the S&P 500 dropped -1.21% or more than 19 points to 1,573.10.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: HOV) cut to 'sell' at Goldman Sachs;
- PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) cut to 'sell' at Goldman Sachs;
- First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) started as 'overweight' at J.P. Morgan;
- Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) raised to 'outperform' at FBR Capital Markets; and
- Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) raised to 'buy' (from 'sell') at Citigroup.
There have been no earnings reports of note since last Friday's close, but before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings from Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE: GBX), Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ: SONC), Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL), Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), and Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Vanguard Health Systems Inc. (NYSE: VHS) is up 65.3% at $20.74. The healthcare operator is being acquired by Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC).
STEC Inc. (NASDAQ: STEC) is up 87% at $6.72. The solid state drive maker is being acquired by Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) for $340 million.
Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE: WLT) is down 12% at $10.77 after posting a new 52-week low of $10.68 earlier today. The coal miner led other coal stocks lower today in advance of President Obama's speech tomorrow on a plan to deal with climate change.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 8:30 a.m. - Durable goods orders
- 9:00 a.m. - FHFA house price index
- 9:00 a.m. - S&P Case-Shiller house price index
- 10:00 a.m. - New home sales
- 10:00 a.m. - Conference Board consumer confidence index
- 10:00 a.m. - Richmond Fed manufacturing survey
- 11:30 a.m. - 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. - 2-year note auction
Filed under: Investing Tagged: AMD, APOL, BKS, CCL, FSLR, GBX, HOV, LEN, PHM, SCHW, SONC, STEC, THC, VHS, WDC, WLT