ADP reported that the private sector added 325,000 jobs in December. Initial Jobless Claims fell to 372,000 last week still above the recessionary threshold of 350,000. Non-manufacturing ISM came in below expectations at 52.6 with the employment component at 49.4, which is a sign that the services industries are not creating jobs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened lower trading down to 12,283.90 then rebounded to an afternoon high above 12,435. The NASDAQ traded down from 2647.52 to 2631.23 then rebounded to 2673.56 above its 200-day simple moving average at 2660.
Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday with the Nikkei 225 ending their session at 8,489 – down 0.83% on the day, and the Hang Seng ending their session at 18,813 – up 0.46% on the day. European stocks moved lower on Thursday. The FTSE 100 ended their session at 5,624 – down 0.78% on the day; the DAX ended their session at 6,096 – down 0.25% on the day; and the CAC 40 ended their session at 3,145 – down 1.53% on the day. The yield on the 10-Year US Treasury note rose from 1.944 percent to 2.021 versus its 50-day simple moving average at 1.999 then consolidated this move.
Gold had a failed test of its 200-day simple moving average at $1626.1 the Troy ounce then faded to $1597.7 before having a second test of the 200-day. Crude oil stayed above its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at $97.67 and $95.75 in a day’s range down from $103.73 per barrel to $101.54. The euro versus the dollar traded down from 1.2945 to 1.2780, which is a new 52-week low.
In afternoon trading: Heavily Traded Stocks: Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) are down about 2.9%. Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) are down about 0.8%. Shares of Halliburton (HAL) are down about 1.2%. Shares of Sandridge Energy (SD) are up about 3.2%. Shares of Exxon Mobile (XOM) are down about 0.4%. Shares of El Paso (EP) are relatively unchanged.
Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was trading at $70.86 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.48% on the day – up 2.50% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +1.29%.
A shortage of corn seed, production of which may have fallen 25%-50%, could hamper the 2012 planting season and bring a second year of volatility to corn prices. However, Monsanto (MON), DuPont (DD) unit Pioneer Hi-Bred and other large seed companies remain sanguine about supplies. Eldorado Gold (EGO) gets a Buy-from-Neutral increase at UBS. Globe Specialty Metals (GSM) gets moved to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. Companhia Vale do Rio (VALE) is now Neutral from Buy at UBS. In afternoon trading: Shares of Rare Element (REE) are up about 14% on over 2x average daily volume. Shares of Globe Specialty Metals are down about 10%.
The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) was trading at $34.82 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.29% on the day – up 3.94% year-to-date. The 2011 change was -12.78%.
Japan Airlines (JAL) plans to raise up to ¥1T ($13B) this year in what would be the world's biggest IPO since GM's listing in 2010. General Electric (GE) is initiated at an Overweight with Morgan Stanley. 3M Co (MMM) is a new Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. Norfolk Southern (NSC) is raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS. United Parcel Service (UPS) gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities, which trims its target by $5 to $75. Corporate Executive Board (EXBD) is lowered to Underperform from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. In afternoon trading: Shares of A123 Systems (AONE) are up about 11%.
The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) was trading at $34.66 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up slightly on the day – up 2.70% year-to-date. The 2011 change was -3.21%.
Eastman Kodak (EK) plans to file for bankruptcy protection if efforts in the next few weeks to sell a horde of digital patents fall flat. Fossil (FOSL) gets begun with a Buy and $105 price objective at KeyBanc Capital. Steven Madden Ltd (SHOO) is a Hold at KeyBanc. Beazer Homes (BZH) is established with an In-Line rating and $3 price target at Imperial Capital. Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN) gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Janney Montgomery Scott with a target price is $4. Arbitron (ARB) is lowered to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan. Choice Hotels (CHH) is now Underperform from Neutral with a $34 objective at Robert W. Baird. In afternoon trading: Shares of Zumiez (ZUMZ) are up about 16.5%. Shares of Weight Watchers (WTW) are up about 11.75%. Shares of Barnes & Noble (BKS) are down about 18% as the company slashed outlook, and is now considering splitting off the Nook. Shares of American Eagle (AEO) are down about 10.5%.
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was trading at $39.99 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.83% on the day – up 2.49% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +4.30%.
PepsiCo (PEP) is reportedly considering cutting around 4,000 jobs, or around 1% of its workforce, in order to boost its earnings. Boston Beer (SAM) is slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. In afternoon trading: Heavily Traded Stocks: Shares of Rite Aid (RAD) are up about 4.75% on over 3x average daily volume. Shares of Altria Group (MO) are up about 1%. Shares of Wal-Mart (AMT) are down about 1%.
The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was trading at $32.37 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down slightly on the day – down 0.37% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +10.85%.
Corcept Therapeutics (CORT) is a new Sell at BioLogic Equity Research. Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NBHGY) is now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan. AstraZeneca (AZN) is now Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, which moves Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) to Neutral from Overweight. Lincare (LNCR) is lowered to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. In afternoon trading: Shares of Dendreon (DNDN) are up about 38% on news that the Q4 sales of the Provenge prostate cancer treatment appear to have exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. Shares of InterMune (ITMN) are up about 12.25%.
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) was trading at $35.07 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.29% on the day – up 1.10% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +10.32%.
Blackstone (BX) will finish raising over $16B for a new fund this month, making it the 6th-largest private equity fund ever. RBS (RBS) CEO Stephen Hester is considering slashing 10,000 jobs and implementing a £1B-£2B restructuring plan as the lender retreats from investment banking. RBS is also selling its aircraft-leasing unit in an auction that could attract up to $7.5B, with Reuters reporting that the finalists are China Development Bank and Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui (SMFG). Barclays PLC (BCS) is raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital. First Cash Financial Services (FCFS) is raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies. BlackRock (BLK) is now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee. Main Street Capital (MAIN) is moved to Neutral from Outperform with a $21 target by Baird. In afternoon trading: Shares of MGIC Investment (MTG) are up about 14.5%. Shares of Radian Group (RDN) are up about 12.5%.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was trading at $13.48 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 1.35% on the day – up 3.69% year-to-date. The 2011 change was -18.50%; the weakest performing sector for the year.
Seagate (STX) forecasted FQ2 revenue of $3.1B-$3.2B and FQ3 revenue of $4.2B-$4.5B (well above consensus estimates). Nokia (NOK) may nominate board member Risto Siilasmaa to succeed Jorma Ollila as chairman. Apple (AAPL) is begun with a Buy at Auriga. VMware (VMW) is started with a Buy and $108 objective at Sterne Agee. SAP AG (SAP) downgraded yesterday, is today moved to Neutral from Sell by BNP Paribas. Nokia (NOK) is upgraded 180 degrees, to Outperform from Underperform at Credit Suisse. Google (GOOG) is lowered to Hold from Buy ($700 target) at The Benchmark Company. Yahoo (YHOO) is reduced to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. Ericsson (ERIC) is cut to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse. In afternoon trading: Shares of Ancestry.com (ACOM) are up about 18.25%. Shares of Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) are up about 17%. Shares of Oclaro Inc. (OCLR) are up about 16.75%.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) was trading at $25.96 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.31% on the day – up 1.93% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +1.03%.
In afternoon trading: Shares of MetroPCS (PCS) are down about 8.75% on over 2x average daily volume. Shares of Leap Wireless (LEAP) are down about 7%. Heavily Traded Stocks: Shares of AT&T (T) are down slightly, while shares of Sprint Nextel (S) are down about 0.4%, and shares of Verizon (VZ) are down about 1%.
The NASDAQ Telecommunications Index (IXTC) was trading at $200.73 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.16% on the day – up 1.93% year-to-date. The 2011 change was -12.62%.
In afternoon trading: Heavily Traded Stocks: Shares of Duke Energy (DUK) are down slightly. Shares of Genon Energy (GEN) are down about 1.4%. Shares of Exelon Corp. (EXC) are down slightly. Shares of AES Corp. (AES) are up about 1.3%. Shares of PPL Corp. (PPL) are up slightly.
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) was trading at $35.21 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.20% on the day – down 2.14% year-to-date. The 2011 change was +14.81%; the strongest performing sector for the year.
STOCKS: VLO, CHK, HAL, SD, XOM, EP, MON, DD, EGO, GSM, VALE, REE, JAL, GE, MMM, NSC, UPS, EXBD, AONE, EK, FOSL, SHOO, BZH, PSUN, ARB, CHH, ZUMZ, WTW, BKS, AEO, PEP, SAM, RAD, MO, AMT, CORT, NBHGY, AZN, SNY, LNCR, DNDN, ITMN, BX, RBS, SMFG, BCS, FCFS, BLK, MAIN, MTG, RDN, STX, NOK, AAPL, VMW, SAP, NOK, GOOG, YHOO, ERIC, ACOM, ENER, OCLR, PCS, LEAP, T, S, VZ, DUK, GEN, EXC, AES, PPL