Thursday’s economic data were mixed versus expectations. Retail Sales gained just 0.1% in June, but excluding autos sales were flat. Producer Prices declined 0.4% in June but rose 0.3% excluding food and energy. PPI is up 7.0% year over year. Initial Jobless Claims was above 400,000 for the fourteenth consecutive week at 405,000. Remember that 350,000 is the Recessionary Threshold. Business Inventories rose 1.0% in May. In Q&A today before a Senate committee Fed Chief Bernanke backtracked on further monetary stimulus suggesting that there is no immediate or near-term stimulus to boost the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened higher on Thursday but the day’s high at 12,582 was below Wednesday’s high at 12,611. The Dow dipped into the red in afternoon trading with a low of 12,415. The NASDAQ traded up to 2817 then dipped into the red by noon and traded as low as 2756 in afternoon trading.
Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday with the Nikkei 225 down 0.3% to 9,936. The Hang Seng was flat with a fractional gain to 21,940. European stocks slipped on Thursday with the FTSE 100 down 0.9% to 5,852. The DAX fell 0.6% to 7,226. The CAC 40 slumped 1.1% to 3,751. The yield on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury note traded in a range between 2.955 percent and 2.879. The U.S. Treasury auctioned $13 billion 30-Year bonds at 4.198 with a bid to cover at 2.80 times. This week’s auctions were well-received despite worries about the Debt Ceiling.
Gold traded rebounded from $1579.4 to another new all time high at $1594.9 the Troy ounce on Thursday morning then consolidated down to $1580.6. Crude oil traded up to $98.88 then declined to $94.53 back below the 50-day simple moving average at $97.86 and approaching the 200-day at $94.01. The euro versus the US dollar declined from 1.4280 to 1.4119 staying below the 50-day simple moving average at 1.4314.
ConocoPhillips (COP) plans to split into two stand-alone, publicly-traded companies – Exploration & Production and Refining & Marketing. Energen (EGN) is lifted to Buy from Hold at Citigroup. Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) is now Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James. In afternoon trading: Shares of SunPower (SPWRA) are up about 9%. Shares of Clean Energy Fuels are down about 8.3%. Actives: Shares of ConocoPhillips are up about 2.6%. Shares of Southern Union (SUG) are up about 4.6%. Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) are up slightly. Shares of Sandridge Energy (SD) are up about 1.9%. Shares of BP (BP) are up about 1.3%.
Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was trading at $74.85 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.66% on the day – up 9.67% year-to-date.
Martin Marietta (MLM) is resumed with an Outperform at RBC Capital Markets, which assigns a Sector Perform on Vulcan Materials (VMC). Olympic Steel (ZEUS) is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman. Potash (POT) is added to Citigroup’s Top Picks list. RTI International Metals (RTI) gets reduced to Sell from Neutral at Goldman. Stillwater Mining (SWC) is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan. In afternoon trading: Shares of RTI International Metals are down about 13.75%. Shares of Century Aluminum (CENX) are down about 6.25%. Shares of Stillwater Mining are down about 5.9%.
The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) traded at $39.22 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.96% on the day – up 2.11% year-to-date.
Joy Global (JOYG) is reportedly in talks to buy Chinese coal-mining equipment company International Mining Machinery, which has a market capitalization of about HK$8.5B ($1.1B). Rolls Royce PLC (RYCEY) is lifted to Overweight from Equal Weight at JPMorgan. 3M Co. (MMM) is cut to Underperform from Neutral by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. BAE Systems (BAESY) gets moved to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan. In afternoon trading: Shares of SatCon Technolody (SATC) are down about 6.3%. Shares of YRC Worldwide (YRCW) are down about 6.3%. Shares of China Bridge & Iron (CBI) are up about 5.1%.
The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) traded at $36.51 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 1.08% on the day – up 4.70% year-to-date.
Borders (BGPIQ) is close to liquidation after a committee of its unsecured creditors rejected a proposal by private equity firm Najafi to pay $215.1M for most of the book retailer’s assets and to assume $220M of liabilities. U.K. Deputy PM Nick Clegg has upped the political pressure on regulators looking at whether News Corp. (NWSA) should be allowed to keep its stake in BSkyB (BSYBY) in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. Marriott International (MAR) reported Q2 EPS of $0.37 (in-line). Yum! Brands (YUM) beat estimates by 5 cents. Fiat SpA (FIATY) gets picked up with a Buy at Goldman Sachs. Luxottica (LUX) is lifted to Buy from Neutral at UBS. IMAX Corp (IMAX) is upgraded to Buy from Speculative Buy at Canaccord Genuity. Toll Brothers (TOL) is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Goldman. Williams-Sonoma (WSM) is added to Goldman’s Conviction Buy List. Meritage Homes (MTH) is cut to Neutral from Buy at Goldman. In afternoon trading: Shares of Marriott are down about 6.5%. Shares of E-Commerce China Dangdang (DANG) are down about 6%.
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) traded at $40.27 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.76% on the day – up 7.65% year-to-date.
In afternoon trading: Shares of China-Biotics (CHBT) are up about 14.7%. Shares of Zhongpin (HOGS) are down about 7.8%. Actives: Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) are down about 0.7%. Shares of Kraft Foods (KFT) are up about 0.4%. Shares of Altria Group (MO) are up about a half of a percent. Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG) are relatively unchanged. Shares of The Coca Cola Company (KO) are down about a half of a percent. Shares of General Mills (GIS) are up about 2%.
The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) traded at $31.27 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.45% on the day – up 6.69% year-to-date.
InterMune (ITMN) is begun at an Outperform by brokers William Blair. Jazz Pharma (JAZZ) gets picked up at Overweight by Piper Jaffray. Pharmasset (VRUS) is launched as an Outperform at Wells Fargo. Savient Pharmaceuticals (SVNT) is lifted to Market Perform from Underperform at Leerink Swann. Quest Diagnostics (DGX) gets cut to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets. In afternoon trading: Shares of Ventrus Biosciences (VTUS) are up about 7.6%. Shares of Jazz Pharma are up about 5.5%. Shares of Zalicus (ZLCS) are down about 5.7%.
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) traded at $35.37 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down slightly on the day – up 12.29% year-to-date.
JPMorgan’s (JPM) Q2 2011 net income jumped to $5.4B from $4.8B a year earlier and beat expectations (by 7 cents) as revenue rose 7% to $27.4B. Following Bank of America’s (BAC) surprise revelation that it would take Q2 mortgage-related charges of $20.6B, the SEC is exploring whether banks have given shareholders enough warning about their potential legal liabilities. Morgan Stanley (MS) is reportedly considering axing several thousand staff to offset what it fears will be sluggish profits during the rest of the year. Sweden’s competition authority has raided Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ), the country’s leading exchange, following a complaint from small local rival Burgundy. CBOE Holdings (CBOE) is covered with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo. Two Harbors Investment (TWO) is picked up as an Outperform and $11.50 objective at FBR Capital. Lloyds TSB plc (LYG) is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Goldman. Protective Life (PL) is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. National Retail Properties (NNN) and BioMed Realty (BMR) are both boosted to Buy from Hold at Jefferies. ProLogis (PLD) is lowered to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) traded at $14.88 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.73% on the day – down 6.71% year-to-date.
Google’s (GOOG) Q211 earnings are due out later today, when it is forecast to report that EPS excluding items grew to $7.84 from $6.45 and that revenue increased to $6.54B from $5.09B. Infosys (INFY) is picked up with a Buy rating and $75 price objective at Needham. Cognizant Technology (CTSH) is picked up with a Buy rating and $100 target price at Needham. EMC Corp (EMC) and NetApp (NTAP) are both begun with Buys at Merriman. iGATE (IGTE), Syntel (SYNT) and Virtusa (VRTU) are all new Buys at Needham with respective price targets $23, $70 and $25. F5 Networks (FFIV) is a fresh Overweight with Atlantic Equities. Emulex (ELX) is increased to Outperform from Market Perform at Morgan Keegan. ASML Holding (ASML) is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. Qlik Tech (QLIK) is increased to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets with a new target of $40. Netgear (NTGR) is now Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays Capital.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) traded at $25.64 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.85% on the day – up 1.79% year-to-date.
In afternoon trading: Actives: Shares of Sprint Nextel (S) are down about 2.1%. Shares of Level 3 (LVLT) are down about 3.5%. Shares of AT&T (T) are down about 0.4%. Shares of Verizon (VZ) are up about 0.4%. Shares of Centurylink (CTL) are down about 0.2%. Shares of Vodafone (VOD) are down about 0.8%. Shares of Clearwire (CLWR) are down about 2%. Shares of Frontier (FTR) are down about 0.6%.
The NASDAQ Telecommunications Index (IXTC) traded at $205.90 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 1.77% on the day – down 8.64% year-to-date.
Great Plains Energy (GXP) gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo. MDU Resources (MDU) is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Citigroup. In afternoon trading: Actives: Shares of Genon Energy (GEN) are down about 1.4%. Shares of Duke Energy (DUK) are down slightly. Shares of AES Corp (AES) are down about 0.6%. Shares of Exelon (EXC) are up about 0.7%. Shares of Calpine (CPN) are up slightly. Shares of NRG Energy (NRG) are up about 1.3%.
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) traded at $33.31 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.45% on the day – up 6.29% year-to-date.
STOCKS: COP, EGN, CLNE, SPWRA, SUG, XOM, SD, BP, MLM, VMC, ZEUS, POT, RTI, SWC, CENX, JOYG, RYCEY, MMM, BAESY, SATC, YRCW, CBI, BGPIQ, NWS, BSYBY, MAR, YUM, FIATY, LUX, IMAX, TOL, WSM, MTH, DANG, CHBT, HOGS, WMT, KFT, MO, PG, KO, GIS, ITMN, JAZZ, VRUS, SVNT, DGX, VTUS, ZLCS, JPM, BAC, MS, NDAQ, CBOE, TWO, LYG, PL, NNN, BMR, PLD, AMD, GOOG, INFY, CTSH, EMC, NTAP, IGTE, SYNT, VRTU, FFIV, ELX, ASML, QLIK, NTGR, S, LVLT, T, VZ, CTL, VOD, CLWR, FTR, GXP, MDU, GEN, DUK, AES, EXC, CPN, NRG