August 19, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened mixed this morning as the Nasdaq eked out a positive start. The rocky start to the week is being attributed to rising 10-year Treasury yields which hit 2.87% before markets opened this morning. There was no notable U.S. economic data released today, and relatively little released elsewhere. In Asia, house prices rose 7.5% in China and Japan reported a higher-than-expected trade deficit. In Europe, Germany’s house price index slipped 0.3% month-over-month. The rising long-term interest rate kept stocks down today.
The U.S. dollar index is trading lower today, now down 0.04% at 81.2210. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.2% at 649.92. WTI crude oil closed down 0.36% today, at $107.10 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.4% at $119.91 a barrel. Natural gas is up 2.7% today at about $3.46 per million BTUs. Gold for December delivery settled down 0.4% today at $1,365.70 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 71 points to15,010.74 (-0.47%), the NASDAQ fell nearly 14 points (-0.38%) to 3,589.09, and the S&P 500 fell -0.59% or nearly 10 points to 1,646.05.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- RadioShack Corp. (RSH) has been dropped from coverage by Oppenheimer;
- Intel Corp. (INTC) raised to ‘neutral’ at Piper Jaffray;
- Apache Corp. (APA) cut to ‘hold’ at Stifel Nicolaus;
- Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (KALU) raised to ‘buy’ with a price target of $80 at Sterne Agee; and
- Dollar General Corp. (DG) raised to ‘overweight’ at J.P. Morgan.
The only earnings reports of note since last Friday came from Saks Inc. (SKS) which is trading down 0.2% at $15.99.
Before markets open Tuesday morning we are scheduled to hear results from Perfect World Co. Ltd. (PWRD), Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN), Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) which announced a new video app today, Best Buy Co. Inc (BBY) which is included in our preview of this week’s results from retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (DKS), Home Depot Inc. (HD), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP), and Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
GTX Inc. (GTXI) is down 66.9% at $1.38 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.31 earlier today. The biopharmaceutical maker’s shares collapsed on news of a failed trial for its muscle drug.
Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (HNR) is up 17.3% at $4.62. The independent oil & gas company received an upgrade today based on the belief that company can sell some of its foreign assets.
Cobalt International Energy Inc. (CIE) is down 14.3% at $25.18. The independent oil & gas company reported a dry hole in one of its Gulf of Mexico wells.
Stay tuned for Tuesday. We have noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
8:30 a.m. - Chicago Fed national activity index
11:00 a.m. - 4- and 52-week bill auctions