Markets Marginally Lower Ahead Of Earnings Season
U.S. stocks were slightly lower as investors digested a report by Goldman Sachs speculating that the Fed Funds rate may be increased in the third quarter of 2015, earlier than expected.
Earnings season unofficially kicks off this week with Alcoa (NYSE: AA) reporting on Tuesday. Many Dow components will follow suit in the coming days.
Finally, on Wednesday the Federal Reserve will release its June policy session minutes.
- The Dow lost 0.26 percent, closing at 17,024.21.
- The S&P 500 lost 0.39 percent, closing at 1,977.65.
- The Nasdaq lost 0.77 percent, closing at 4,451.53.
- Gold lost 0.08 percent, trading at $1,319.50 an ounce.
- Oil lost 0.64 percent, trading at $103.39 a barrel.
- Silver lost 0.51 percent, trading at $21.03 an ounce.
News of Note
June Gallop U.S. Consumer Spending fell to $91 from $98 in May.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs are forecasting the Fed will increase the Fed Funds rate in the third quarter of 2015.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note
Analysts at Standpoint Research downgraded Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) to Hold from Buy. Shares lost 1.50 percent, closing at $42.59.
Analysts at Macquarie upgraded Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) to Outperform from Neutral. Shares lost 1.06 percent, closing at $14.95.
Analysts at Bank of America downgraded Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) to Underperform from Neutral. Shares lost 0.15 percent, closing at $59.26.
Analysts at FBR Capital upgraded Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ) to Outperform from Market Perform. Shares lost 3.19 percent, closing at $29.73.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) with a price target raised to $45 from a previous $40. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $38.90 before closing the day at $38.67, up 0.42 percent..
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity downgraded GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) to Hold from Buy with a price target maintained at $20. Also, analysts at UBS also downgraded GT Advanced Technologies to Neutral from Buy with an unchanged price target of $22. Shares lost 15.60 percent, closing at $16.50.
Analysts at Piper Jaffray upgraded King Digital Entertainment (NYSE: KING) to Overweight from Neutral with a price target raised to $28 from a previous $19. Shares lost 5.22 percent, closing at $20.72.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Neutral rating on Merck & Company (NYSE: MRK) with a price target raised to $57 from a previous $44. Shares lost 1.15 percent, closing at $58.52.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Hold rating on Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) with a price target raised to $24 from a previous $23. Shares lost 1.83 percent, closing at $24.73.
Analysts at Bank of America upgraded Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) to Buy from Neutral. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $73.45 before closing the day at $73.04, up 0.98 percent.
Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating on Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) with a price target lowered to $235 from a previous $240. Shares lost 1.57 percent, closing at $208.58.
Equities-Specific News of Note
Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) has agreed to acquire Australian based Wotif.com for $660 million to expand its reach in Asia-Pacific. Separately, Expedia confirmed it is a long-term investor in Chinese based eLong (NASDAQ: LONG). Shares of Expedia lost 1.65 percent, closing at $80.85 while shares of eLong gained 0.65 percent, closing at $21.76.
After a two year test period, SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA) closed its flagship store in Brighton, England. Shares hit new 52-week lows of $32.03 before closing the day at $32.22, down 2.51 percent.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) approved an additional $2 billion share repurchase program expected to be completed during fiscal 2016. The company has $861 million remaining in its current repurchase authorization. Shares lost 0.15 percent, closing at $59.26.
Lions Gate (NYSE: LGF) announced a long-term distribution deal with StudioCanal covering Austria, Germany and Hungary. Shares lost 0.69 percent, closing at $28.99.
Atmel (NASDAQ: ATML) has agreed to acquire Newport Media, a maker of TV broadcast and Wi-Fi Bluetooth chips for $140 million in cash. Shares lost 2.31 percent, closing at $9.29.
Ford (NYSE: F) reported that its sales in China rose 35 percent in the first half of 2014 to 549,256 from the same period a year ago. Shares finished the day unchanged at $17.32.
Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) cautioned investors that it stands to miss out on $15 billion in profits through 2018 if it suspends an oil platform contract with Holland based SBM Offshore. Shares lost 0.28 percent, closing at $14.45.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) confirmed it will investigate the events leading up to a stolen Tesla Model S sedan that split into two pieces and then involved in a fiery crash. Shares lost 2.87 percent, closing at $222.66.
Apache (NYSE: APA) may be seeking a buyer for its 13 percent stake in the Wheatstone liquefied gas project for around $2.5 billion. Shares lost 0.98 percent, closing at $99.05.
Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) has hired Brian Dye, Symantec's former head of Information Security to lead Citrix's Mobile Platforms Group. Shares of Citrix lost 0.14 percent, closing at $63.45.
PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) confirmed it is reviewing potential changes to its structure (including returning capital to shareholders) following the disclosure that Jana Partners holds a 13.5 percent activist stake. Separately, Longview Asset Management, another stakeholder in PetSmart supports the company going private, noting that a private buyer will place a higher valuation than the trading public. Shares gained 2.48 percent, closing at $68.95.
ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE) has agreed to acquire the corporate P&C insurance business of Itau Unibranco (NYSE: ITUB) for $685 million. Following the acquisition, ACE Limited will now become the largest P&C insurer in Brazil. Shares of ACE Limited gained 0.09 percent, closing at $105.20 while shares of Itau Unibranco lost 0.28 percent, closing at $14.23.
Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management proposed a list of six board of director candidates for Allergan (NYSE: AGN) in advance of a potential special meeting. Shares lost 1.94 percent, closing at $165.85.
American Apparel (NYSE: APP) is in talks with Standard General (who owns 43 percent of the company) to secure financing following its failure to repay $10 million in debt to Lion Capital. The company is also looking to replace members of its board. Shares gained 1.72 percent, closing at $0.88.
Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) has agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian government relating to contract renegotiation. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $38.90 before closing the day at $38.67, up 0.42 percent.
According to Recode, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) plans to invest $500 million in setting up a local/same-day delivery service across the U.S. Google will partner with Whole Foods Market, Staples and others to handle warehousing. Shares of Google lost 0.42 percent, closing at $582.25.
Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) has agreed to acquire an 11.1 percent stake in Italian based Mediasset's pay-TV business for $136 million. Shares lost 1.45 percent, closing at $17.04.
Winners of Note
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) announced it won three Red Dot Awards for its Q10, Q5 and Z30 devices. Separately, the BlackBerry plans to develop a healthcare service that will utilize mass amounts of data from medical devices to enable early detection of illnesses. The company has partnered with NantHealth, a clinical software designer that spreads across 250 hospitals and connected to 16,000 medical devices. Shares gained 5.66 percent, closing at $11.21.
Kandi Technologies (NASDAQ: KNDI) has received $31.8 million in subsidies from the Chinese government after selling more than 4,000 electric vehicles over the previous year. The company also stated that it plans to introduce a local subsidy policy for new energy vehicles in the city of Hangzhou. Shares gained 6.07 percent, closing at $14.87.
Decliners of Note
Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE: GDP) announced that it completed its its Beech Grove 94H-1 well in Louisiana, with a maximum production rate of 740 barrels of energy per day. Shares lost 9.30 percent, closing at $22.92.
Arena Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ: ARNA) CEO Jack Lief sold 223,525 shares of Arena stock at an average price of $5.85, representing just under 40 percent of his total holdings, according to an SEC filing. Shares lost 9.42 percent, cloisng at $5.29.
Quote of the Day
"If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.