July 22, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning with the DJIA dipping on a poor earnings report from McDonald’s Corp. (MCD). There was no economic data release of note in Europe today. In Asia, Hong Kong CPI came in as expected, up 4.1% year-over-year. The election sweep in Japan helped boost Asian markets today. In the U.S., the Chicago Fed’s national activity index improved slightly and existing home sales fell nearly 2%. The S&P 500 posted an intra-day high earlier today.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.45% today, now at 82.2230. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.1% at 650.66. WTI crude oil closed down 1.1% today, at $106.91 a barrel, closing out the trade in August futures. Brent crude trades up 0.2% at $108.22 a barrel. Natural gas is down 3% today at about $3.68 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 3.3% today at $1,336.00 an ounce, the yellow metal’s biggest one-day gain in more than a year.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up nearly 2 points to 15,545.62 (0.01%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 13 points (0.36%) to 3,600.39, and the S&P 500 rose 0.20% or more than 3 points to 1,695.53.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Nokia Corp. (NOK) cut to ‘underperform’ at Oppenheimer;
- General Electric Co. (GE) reiterated as ‘buy’ and price target raised to $28 at Argus;
- Crocs Inc. (CROX) cut to ‘neutral’ at Wedbush;
- VF Corp. (VFC) cut to ‘neutral’ and price target raised to $208 at Credit Suisse; and
- Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $90 at Goldman Sachs.
Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in some prices move today:
- Federal-Mogul Corp. (FDML) is up 29.4% at $13.82;
- Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI) is down 1.9% at $25.85 on a weak outlook;
- Halliburton Co. (HAL) is down 2% at $44.94 as a result of North American worries;
- Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) is down 1.9% at $97.63; and
- McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) is down 2.8% at $97.53 as weak earnings may signal a peak in fast food sales.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from Netflix Inc. (NFLX), Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX), Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) is up 6.6% at $17.65. The gold miner’s stock is up on the sharp upward move in gold prices today.
Tower International Inc. (TOWR) is down 13.6% at $19.87. The industrial maker of auto body parts will hold a secondary offering of 6 million shares for the benefit of its parent company.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 a.m. - FHFA house price index
- 10:00 a.m. - Richmond Fed manufacturing index
- 11:30 a.m. 4- and 52-week bill auctions
- 1:00 p.m. - 2-year note auction