June 25, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened higher this morning after speculation that China's central bank would not allow the country's banking system to collapse. In the U.S., data on housing prices buoyed investors as well. The FHFA house price index rose 0.7% in April and the S&P Case-Shiller index rose 12.1%. New home sales also rose more than expected. May orders for durable goods were up 3.6% as well. In Europe, data releases were limited, and the same was true in Asia.
The U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.13% today, now at 82.5310. The GSCI commodity index is up fractionally at 610.30. WTI crude oil closed up fractionally as well today, at $95.32 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $101.34 a barrel. Natural gas is down 2.3% today at about $3.65 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled down 0.1% today at $1,275.10.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 100 points to 14,760.31 (0.69%), the NASDAQ rose more than 27 points (0.82%) to 3,347.89, and the S&P 500 rose 0.95% or about 15 points to 1,588.03.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Genomic Health Inc. (NASDAQ: GHDX) cut to 'sell' at Goldman Sachs;
- Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) cut to 'underperform' but price target raised to $180 at Bernstein;
- Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) started as 'buy' at Deutsche Bank;
- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP) raised to 'buy' at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and
- J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) raised to 'buy' with a price target of $23 at Sterne Agee.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some price moves today, including these as of the last half hour of trading:
- Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE: GBX) is up 5% at $23.40;
- Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ: SONC) is up 1.1% at $14.35;
- Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is down 17% at $15.65 after poor earnings;
- Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) is up 5.2% at $34.94 in spite of earnings; and
- Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) is up 0.1% at $35.03 after good earnings.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings from Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL), Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC), General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS), and Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) is down 6.3% at $45.01. The drugstore chain reported weak earnings this morning.
MeetMe Inc. (NYSEMKT: MEET) is up 58.6% at $1.76. The social media technology company raised its second quarter revenue estimates.
Demand Media Inc. (NYSE: DMD) is down 22.9% at $6.30 after posting a new 52-week low of $6.21 earlier today. The Internet media company cut its revenue outlook for the second quarter.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, and New York Fed President William Dudley are giving speeches. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. - Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
- 8:30 a.m. - GDP
- 8:30 a.m. - Corporate profits
- 10:30 a.m. - EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. - 5-year note auction
Filed under: Investing Tagged: APOL, BKS, CCL, DMD, GBX, GHDX, GIS, JCP, KMP, LEN, MEET, MON, NFLX, NKE, SONC, SWHC, WAG