July 16, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened a bit higher this morning but almost instantly turned lower and remained in the red virtually all day. In Europe, Germany’s ZEW economic sentiment survey declined where an increase was expected, and the eurozone reported a smaller-than-expected trade surplus in June. There was no significant economic data released in Asia today. In the U.S., CPI rose on higher energy prices and industrial production rose as expected. Homebuilder confidence rose sharply for the second straight month. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the U.S. House tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. ET.
The U.S. dollar index is trading down 0.66% today, now at 82.4960. The GSCI commodity index is down fractionally at 644.40. WTI crude oil closed down 0.3% today, at $106.00 a barrel. Brent crude trades up 0.3% at $109.39 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.2% today at about $3.68 per million BTUs. Gold for August delivery settled up 0.5% today at $1,290.40 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 32 points to 15,451.93 (-0.21%), the NASDAQ fell about 9 points (-0.25%) to 3,598.50, and the S&P 500 fell -0.37% or more than 6 points to 1,676.26.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. (DVA) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs;
- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) raised to ‘outperform’ at Credit Suisse;
- Baidu Inc. (BIDU) raised to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup;
- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) maintained as ‘buy’ but removed from Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs; and
- Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM) started as ‘buy’ at Stifel Nicolaus.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:
- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is down 1.6% at $XX following shaky earnings;
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is up 0.1% at $90.46 after posting a new 52-week high of $91.66 earlier today on in-line earnings;
- The Mosaic Co. (MOS) is down 3.7% at $54.05 after a weak earnings report and outlook; and
- The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) is down 1.9% at $40.23 on disappointing results.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from CSX Corp. (CSX), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), and Textron Inc. (TXT).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) is down 14.3% at $109.01. The electric car maker got a lukewarm outlook from analysts at Goldman Sachs.
SHFL entertainment Inc. (SHFL) is up 21.9% at $22.80 after posting a new 52-week high of $22.88 earlier today. The gambling equipment and software maker is being acquired by Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI) for $1.3 billion.
Joe’s Jeans Inc. (JOEZ) is down 20.4% at $1.48. The denim clothing maker reported poor earnings and announced an acquisition last night.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is testifying before the House Financial Services Committee. 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
- 2:00 p.m. - Beige book