Stocks had another mixed day, despite some key winners and losers. China's surprise rate hike came amid word of a rate by the European Central Bank, expected on Thursday of this week. Brent Crude hit what appears to be a two-year high and even Ben Bernanke's remarks on inflation didn't add much to the mix. That being said, it was not known until the final minute if the markets were going to be in the red or the black for the trading day.
Here were today's unofficial closing bell levels:
Dow Jones: 12,393.90 -6.13 (-0.05%)
S&P500: 1,332,63 -0.24 (-0.02%)
Nasdaq: 2,791,19 +2.00 (0.07%)
Top Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades
Continue reading Closing Bell: The Directionless Day (AAPL, ANF, BA, FXI, ISPH, MRK, NSM, TXN)
It should surprise no one that oil stocks have taken the lead in the first quarter, while financial stocks -- after a good two-year run -- have been tamed. This is how things have shaped up through the first quarter for my 2011 stock picks. (For a look at my original picks, see here: part 1, part 2,
and part 3
Normally, if I said a business was underwater, investors would think the worst. Actually, in the summer Noble Corp (NE
) was underwater -- and investors were not impressed. However, this was a great buying opportunity, and although the company is still underwater, it is also a market leader among my stock picks and the overall market -- even among oil industry players. With its fleet of 69 offshore drilling rigs, Noble stands tall.
Continue reading Chasing Value: 2011 Stock Picks Q1 Review -- A Platform for Success
- Aetna (AET) to buy from neutral at Goldman.
- Kellogg (K) to buy from neutral at UBS.
- PetSmart (PETM) to outperform from market perform at JMP Securities.
- NetApp (NTAP) and Scripps Networks (SNI) to buy from hold at Wunderlich.
- Thoratec (THOR) to buy from hold at Auriga.
- ArcelorMittal (MT) to overweight from neutral at HSBC.
- Bristol-Myers (BMY) to outperform from neutral at Cowen.
- Eaton Vance (EV) to neutral from sell at Ticonderoga.
- Adtran (ADTN) to buy from underperform at BofA/Merrill.
Continue reading Analyst Calls: AET, BMY, DVN, GLW, K, MRK, MT, PETM, SPLS, WY ...
Much of the U.S. was buried in ice-cold weather. Jobless claims improved to levels better than expected, earnings
kept coming out, and inflation is slightly higher, as the FOMC wants to see. Ben Bernanke said that things are progressing as expected in quantitative easing and did not exactly signal another round of QE3. Strong retail sales
may have carried the day.
Here were today's unofficial closing bell levels ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls and unemployment data:
Dow Jones: 12,062.26 +20.29 (0.17%)
S&P 500: 1,307.10 +3.07 (0.24%)
Nasdaq: 2,753.88 +4.32 (0.16%)
Top Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades
Continue reading Closing Bell: An Up-Day That Felt Mixed (BJ, CCME, CSCO, EL, FRG, LTD, MRK)
U.S. stock futures are mixed this morning, as investors await jobless-claims data and earnings
report from Merck (MRK
). Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 7 points to 11,992 and S&P 500 futures fell 0.40 point to 1,299.60. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 3.50 to 2,316.25.
The Dow index gained 1.81 points or 0.02% to close at 12,042 yesterday.
Data on weekly jobless claims and fourth quarter productivity will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The ISM report on service sector activity in January and factory orders for December will both be released at 10 a.m. ET.
US retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT
) are scheduled to report same-store sales for January.
Continue reading Futures Mixed Ahead of Earnings, Economic Data, Retail Sales
Oil Services Holders Trust (OIH) closed above $155 as crude oil futures traded above $91 according to Bloomberg. February and April put option implied volatility of 30 is near its 26-week average of 30 according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional price movement.
Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) overall option implied volatility is at 21 according to Track Data, below its 26-week average of 23 into its release of Q4 EPS on February 3, suggesting decreasing price movement.
Options Update is by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com
We are only one month into the new year and there have not been many dull moments. Games are going on in the Middle East and they are not the friendly kind. In Egypt a million plus protesters
are playing a game of chicken with the Mubarak government demanding he step down from his 32-year-old reign as perpetual president.
This is not radical Islam fundamentalists; it is even more fundamental. The people want to improve their daily lives in a meaningful way. Education, infrastructure, clean water and clean streets. Speaking of infrastructure and getting back to the less dramatic but still important great stock picks Telefonica (TEF
) and General Electric (GE
) were the big winners so far bouncing over 10% in January.
Continue reading Chasing Value: 2011 Picks Dust the S&P
Friday's fourth-quarter GDP numbers offered more evidence that the economy is picking up steam, but one of the biggest obstacles to the recovery remains the stubbornly high unemployment rate. We'll find out whether there's been any movement on that front when employment data for January comes out this week. The Challenger Job-Cut report and ADP employment data are due Wednesday, and the government's unemployment rate on Friday. Another mild increase in jobs is expected, in line with the three-month average, but not enough to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.
Also look for the ISM manufacturing and nonmanufacturing indexes this week, as well as the Chicago PMI and the New York NAPM index. And Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak to the National Press Club on Thursday.
Continue reading Week in Preview: January Employment Data, UPS Earnings and More
Thursday saw seasonality make for a weak jobs report, some manufacturing data came in lower than expected and the rate of wholesale inflation looks to be perking up
if you include food and energy. A surprise rate hike from South Korea
also took the headlines away from the E.U. and U.K. central banks keeping rates unchanged. Even Ben Bernanke being more confident and calling for 3% to 4% GDP growth in 2011 failed to bring new buyers. The DJIA was weaker than most indexes up until the end of the today.
Here are Thursday's unofficial closing bell levels:
Dow Jones 11,731.90 -23.54 (-0.20%)
S&P 500 1,283.76 -2.20 (-0.17%)
Nasdaq 2,735.29 -2.04 (-0.07%)
Top Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades
Continue reading Closing Bell: Investors Lighten Up Before Earnings (AA, BBVA, MRO, MRK, MU, WAVX, WFMI)
I have already gone on record this year saying that financial companies and insurance stocks are going to continue to rebound. In my previous two posts Chasing Value: 2011 Stock Picks -- 5 of 11 and Chasing Value: 2011 Stock Picks -- 6, 7, 8, 9, I included several financial institutions. Today I add an insurance company.
The industry got whacked hard for many reasons. For one, it makes a significant amount of profit by investing its float, and like every other investor, the industry lost a pile of money in the financial crisis. It was embroiled more directly than some industries, as several insurers are affiliated with banks. Finally the housing crisis meant disruption to payment streams by homeowners who were delinquent on more than their mortgages.
Continue reading Chasing Value: 2011 Stock Picks -- 10 and 11
Merck (MRK - option chain) shares are rising today after the company said a study of its experimental cholesterol drug Anacetrapib showed the drug dramatically lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising so-called good cholesterol (HDL). If you think that the stock won't fall by too much in the coming months, then now could be a good time to look at a bullish hedged trade on MRK.
MRK opened this morning at $34.81. So far today the stock has hit a low of $34.52 and a high of $34.94. As of 12:05, MRK is trading at $34.65 up 0.55 (1.6%). The chart for MRK looks bullish and S&P gives MRK a positive 4 STARS (out of 5) buy ranking.
Continue reading Merck Lifted by Cholesterol Drug Study
Today is election day. Currently, intrade.com is projecting a 97% chance that the Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives and a 48% chance that they will win the Senate. What could a landslide win for the Republican Party mean for the stock market?
Some observers are suggesting that gridlock in Washington, along with a more business friendly atmosphere, could be a catalyst for stock prices to rise. This, however, is offset by concerns about cuts in government spending. The private economy
is sputtering, and near-term spending cuts could have a detrimental effect on the recovery. Therefore, instead of focusing on the broader market, investors may want to look at some specific sectors that may benefit from a Republican victory.
Three interesting areas are oil services, financials, and healthcare. The thinking is that some of the regulatory headwinds facing these sectors may be lifted if the political atmosphere in Washington D.C.
changes. Some observers believe that a Republican-led House of Representatives will be able to chip away at some of the Obamacare legislation. This should benefit large pharmaceutical companies such as Merck (MRK
) and Pfizer (PFE
Continue reading Election Day Trades (MRK, PFE, WLP)
The earnings crunch continues this week, and analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are anticipating lots of strong quarterly reports.
For example, year-over-year earnings growth from big oil Chevron (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP), ExxonMobil (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) are expected to be in double digits. The same is true of many other energy and mining concerns reporting this week: Allegheny Technologies (ATI), Alliant Energy (LNT), Arch Coal (ACI), Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), CMS Energy (CMS), CONSOL Energy (CNX), DPL (DPL), Hess Corp. (HES), Minerals Technologies (MTX), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), PPL Corp. (PPL), Southwestern Energy (SWN), Total (TOT), Whiting Petroleum (WLL), Williams Companies (WMB) and Wisconsin Energy (WEC).
Continue reading Week in Preview: The Earnings Crunch Rolls On (MSFT, COP, V)
Next Page >