August 6, 2013: U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning even following a reported increase in U.S. exports and a decrease in U.S. imports that put the country’s trade deficit at its lowest level in nearly four years. That was the major piece of economic data out today in the U.S. In Asia, the chief economist at one of China’s largest banks suggested that the country’s GDP growth could fall to around 7% in each of the next two years and that the bank may cut its 7.7% growth estimate for 2013. In Europe, the U.K. reported a rise in industrial production and an independent report showed house prices rose 0.9% in July.
The U.S. dollar index is trading lower today, now down 0.33% at 81.6010. The GSCI commodity index is down 0.5% at 639.59. WTI crude oil closed down 1.2% today, at $105.30 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.6% at $108.10 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.6% today at about $3.32 per million BTUs. Gold for December delivery settled down 1.5% today at $1,282.50 an ounce.
The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down more than 93 points to 15,518.67 (-0.60%), the NASDAQ fell about 27 points (-0.74%) to 3,665.77, and the S&P 500 fell -0.57% or nearly 10 points to 1,697.37.
There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including:
- Deere & Co. (DE) cut to ‘underperform’ at William Blair;
- International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) cut to ‘underperform’ with a new downside price target of $175 at Credit Suisse;
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) reiterated as ‘buy’ with an increased price target of $88 at Argus;
- Apollo Global Management LLC (APO) started as ‘buy’ with a $33 price target at Sterne Agee; and
- Web.com Inc. (WWWW) cut to ‘neutral’ at Roth Capital.
Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in some prices move today:
- Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) is up 0.4% at $83.93;
- Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) is up 0.1% at $37.91 after posting a new 52-week high of $38.18 earlier today after solid earnings;
- Bridgepoint Education Inc. (BPI) is down 2.3% at $16.37;
- Dish Network Corp. (DISH) is up 0.6% at $44.96;
- MGM Resorts International (MGM) is up 2.7% at $16.99 after posting a new 52-week high of $17.67 earlier today; and
- Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS) is up 3.8% at $70.46 after posting a new 52-week high of $72.80 earlier today.
Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear earnings results from CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF), First Solar Inc. (FSLR), Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV), Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO), SandRidge Energy Inc. (SD), The Walt Disney Co. (DIS), AOL Inc. (AOL), EOG Resources Inc. (EOG), SunEdison Inc. (SUNE), and Time Warner Inc. (TWX).
Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:
GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (GTAT) is up 6.8% at $5.52. The semiconductor equipment maker reported good earnings and raising its forecast for the second half of the year.
McDermott International Inc. (MDR) is down 2.2% at $2.94. The engineering company posted a surprise -- and surprisingly large -- loss for the second quarter.
Fossil Group Inc. (FOSL) is up 18.2% at $126.99 after posting a new 52-week high of $129.25 earlier today. The maker of fashion accessories beat estimates soundly and raised its forecast.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto is giving a speech. We have also noted the following events on the schedule (all times Eastern):
- 7:00 a.m. - Mortgage Brokers Association purchase applications
- 10:30 a.m. - EIA weekly petroleum status report
- 1:00 p.m. - 10-year note auction
- 3:00 p.m. - Consumer credit