August 9, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning and bounced around below the break-even line most of the day. The day’s biggest economic news came from China, where the CPI rose 2.7% year-over-year, flat with the prior reading and slightly below expectations. Chinese retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment all rose as well. In Europe, Britain’s trade deficit was down and France reported a budget deficit of €59.3 billion for July. In the U.S., wholesale inventories fell again in June.
The U.S. dollar index is trading higher today, now up 0.20% at 81.1420. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.3% at 627.95. WTI crude oil closed up 2.5% today, at $105.97 a barrel, closing the week down 0.9%. Brent crude trades up 1.1% at $107.86 a barrel. Natural gas is down 1.1% today at about $3.26 per million BTUs following the weekly storage report. Gold for December delivery settled up 0.2% today at $1,312.20 an ounce, to close the week up about 0.1%.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down nearly 73 points to 15,425.44 (-0.47%), the NASDAQ fell about 9 points (-0.25%) to 3,660.11, and the S&P 500 fell -0.36% or about 6 points to 1,691.42.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Deere & Co. (DE) cut to ‘sell’ at UBS;
- Linn Energy LLC (LINE) cut to ‘underperform’ at Oppenheimer;
- Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) raised to ‘neutral’ at J.P. Morgan;
- Gap Inc. (GPS) cut to ‘neutral’ at Susquehanna; and
- Royal Gold Inc. (RGLD) raised to ‘outperform’ with price target of $75 at RBC Capital Markets.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:
- Air Lease Corp. (AL) is down 1.4% at $26.99;
- Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) is down 0.25% at $34.05 after posting a new 52-week high of $35.04;
- Molycorp Inc. (MCP) is down 9.2% at $6.72 after a wider-than-expected loss;
- Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) is up 0.7% at $63.90 after posting a new 52-week high of $66.11 earlier today;
- Noodles & Co. (NDLS) is down 9.6% at $42.72;
- Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) is up 4.3% at $973.88 after posting a new 52-week high of $994.98 on great earnings, but we wonder when the stock will split;
- Rackspace Hosting Inc. (RAX) is up 8.5% at $47.99;
- Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (HNR) is down 5.5% at $4.28; and
- James River Coal Co. (JRCC) is up 11.3% at $1.98 after posting a profit on a debt swap deal.
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
Cvent Inc. (CVT) is up 58.6% at $33.23. The cloud software company held its IPO today, after pricing above its expected range and rising as much as 87%.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) is down 5.6% at $12.90. The retailer is getting hit by demands that it speed up its hunt for a new CEO.
Dendreon Corp. (DNDN) is down 25.9% at $3.40, a new 52-week low. The biotechnology company cut its outlook after missing earnings estimates last night.
Stay tuned for Monday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 11:30 a.m. - 3- and 6-month bill auctions
- 2:00 p.m. - Treasury budget
Have a great weekend!