Markets Little Changed Ahead Of Friday's Jobs Report
U.S. stocks reversed early morning declines and closed the day little changed ahead of Friday's job reports data, which will be released at 8:30 A.M.
The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week by 8,000 according to data released today. Not all data released today was positive, as factory orders in August fell by 10.1 percent.
The European Central Bank held interest rates unchanged today while the ECB President Mario Draghi said that the central bank would purchase assets for at least two years to lift the inflation rate and improve economic growth.
- The Dow lost 0.02 percent, closing at 16,801.05.
- The S&P 500 gained 0.0 percent, closing at 1,946.17.
- The Nasdaq gained 0.18 percent, closing at 4,430.19.
- Gold gained 0.02 percent, trading at $1,218.40 an ounce.
- Oil gained 0.19 percent, trading at $89.28 a barrel.
- Silver lost 0.95 percent, trading at $17.09.
News Of Note
September Challenger Job-Cut Report declined 24 percent to 30,477 from 40,010 in August.
Initial Jobless Claims declined 8,000 to 287,000 versus expectations of 297,000.
September Gallup U.S. Payroll to Population declined to 44.8 percent from 44.9 percent in August. Workforce participation was 67.2 percent in September.
August Factory Orders declined 10.1 percent (versus expectations of a decline of 9.3 percent) after rising 10.5 percent in July.
EIA Natural Gas Inventory rose 112 bcf (versus expectations of a rise of 107 bcf) after rising 97 bcf last week.
Analyst Upgrades And Downgrades Of Note
Analysts at Morgan Stanley maintained an Underweight rating on 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) with a price target lowered to $136 from a previous $138. Shares lost 0.37 percent, closing at $138.67.
Analysts at Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage of AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) with a Buy rating and $70 price target. Shares lost 1.00 percent, closing at $56.66.
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity maintained a Buy rating on Acuity Brands (NYSE: AYI) with a Buy rating and a price target raised to $166 from a previous $156. Shares gained 1.86 percent, closing at $133.05.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with a price target raised to $120 from a previous $110. Shares gained 0.73 percent, closing at $99.90.
Analysts at UBS upgraded Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) to Buy from Neutral. Shares gained 0.36 percent, closing at $16.88.
Analysts at UBS maintained a Neutral rating on Costco (NASDAQ: COST) with a price target raised to $125 from a previous $124. Shares gained 0.83 percent, closing at $125.79.
Analysts at Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage of Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) with a Buy rating and $80 price target. Shares lost 0.38 percent, closing at $64.83.
Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating on General Motors (NYSE: GM) with a price target lowered to $45 from a previous $46. Shares gained 2.12 percent, closing at $33.18.
Analysts at UBS downgraded JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) to Neutral from Buy. Shares lost 0.89 percent, closing at $58.84.
Analysts at Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) with a Neutral rating and $115 price target. Shares lost 0.43 percent, closing at $103.85.
Analysts at Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage of Merck (NYSE: MRK) with a Neutral rating and $65 price target. Shares gained 0.24 percent, closing at $58.85.
Analysts at FBN Securities initiated coverage of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) with an Outperform rating and $55 price target. Shares lost 0.31 percent, closing at $45.76.
Analysts at DA Davidson initiated coverage of Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) with a Neutral rating and $62 price target. Shares lost 0.16 percent, closing at $56.64.
Analysts at JPMorgan upgraded Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) to Overweight from Neutral with a price target raised to $64 from a previous $54. Shares gained 3.58 percent, closing at $51.85.
Analysts at JPMorgan reinstated coverage of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) with an Overweight rating and $49 price target. Shares gained 2.10 percent, closing at $40.83.
Analysts at JPMorgan maintained a Neutral rating on Under Armour (NYSE: UA) with a price target raised to $63 from a previous $60. Shares gained 0.63 percent, closing at $66.79.
Analysts at KeyBanc downgraded United States Steel (NYSE: X) to Hold from Buy while removing a previous $48 price target. Shares lost 0.62 percent, closing at $36.90.
Equities-Specific News Of Note
Nike (NYSE: NKE) announced that it will indefinitely delay the launch of its new LeBron 12 basketball shoes because of a cosmetic issue. Shares gained 1.82 percent, closing at $89.30.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced it signed an exclusive deal with Adam Sandler to produce and star in four movies. Shares gained 2.55 percent, closing at $449.98.
Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) reported its same-store sales rose 5.1 percent in September despite a 6.3 percent negative impact from new generic introductions. Shares gained 3.74 percent, closing at $4.99.
Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) said that it plans to sell $4.5 billion to $6 billion of non-strategic assets by fiscal 2015, including $2 billion from three chemical businesses. Shares lost 0.06 percent, closing at $50.42.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) announced it extended Bob Iger's contract as both chairman and CEO through the end of June 2018. Shares lost 0.80 percent, closing at $86.79.
Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU) announced a $200 million buyback program, good for repurchasing 2.5 percent of outstanding shares. Shares gained 5.18 percent, closing at $67.20.
According to Bloomberg, Iliad is preparing an offer to acquire a larger stake in T-Mobile U.S. (NASDAQ: TMUS) The France-based firm's revised offer would involve a “significantly larger stake” than the previous offer of 56.6 percent. Shares of T-Mobile U.S. gained 2.45 percent, closing at $28.80.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) stated that it expects its second quarter earnings per share to fall in the upper range of its previous guidance of $0.26 to $0.28. The restaurant chain also reported positive same-store sales growth numbers for all of its restaurant concepts except for Bahama Breeze. Shares gained 1.04 percent, closing at $51.48.
Winners Of Note
AutoNation (NYSE: AN) reported that its retail sales rose 10 percent year over year to 84,225 new vehicles during the third quarter. The company also reported its same-store sales rose 14 percent in September. Shares gained 6.05 percent, closing at $52.07.
Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) plans to raise $380 million by November from the sale of the rights to 40 million shares in Sears Canada. Shares gained 7.47 percent, closing at $27.06.
Activist investor Starboard Value disclosed a 9.9 percent stake in RealD (NYSE: RLD) on Wednesday evening and offered to buy the remaining shares it does not own for $12 per share. The activist investor noted that the company is not “best positioned to execute against its future opportunities as a public company.” Shares soared 27.08 percent, closing at $11.78.
Decliners Of Note
GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) announced that its co-founders have made a charitable donation of 5.8 million shares under their names. The lead IPO underwriter JPMorgan agreed to release the lockup restrictions on the shares. The Wall Street Journal commented that the “lockup loophole” has “spooked investors.” Shares lost 6.91 percent, closing at $85.46.
Cree (NASDAQ: CREE) stated that it expects its first quarter revenue will be $428 million, lower than previous guidance of $440 million to $465 million and also below the consensus estimate of $455.3 million. The company also issued earnings per share guidance and expects to earn $0.25 to $0.30 in the coming quarter, below the consensus estimate of $0.42. Shares hit new 52-week lows of $33.45 before closing the day at $34.86, down 12.01 percent.
Earnings Of Note
This morning, McCormick & Company (NYSE: MKC) reported its third quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.95, beating the consensus estimate of $0.81. Revenue of $1.04 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.03 billion. Net income for the quarter rose to $122.9 million from $104.4 million in the same quarter a year ago as the company saw improvements in both the consumer and industrial businesses. The company reaffirmed its projected 3 percent to 5 percent sales growth for full-year 2014 while raising its full year 2014 earnings per share guidance to a range of $3.30 to $3.37. Shares gained 2.88 percent, closing at $67.50.
This morning, Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.11, missing the consensus estimate of $1.16. Revenue of $1.61 billion missed the consensus estimate of $1.64 billion. Net income for the quarter fell to $195.8 million from $1.522 billion in the same quarter a year ago as last year's results included a $1.6 billion non-cash gain from the acquisition of Grupo Model's U.S. beer business from InBev. The company issued guidance and expects its full-year fiscal 2015 earnings to be $3.85 to $4.00 on a reported basis and $4.10 to $4.25 on a comparable basis. The company also expects its free cash flow to be $275 million to $300 million. Capital expenditures is expected to be $725 million to $775 million, including $600 million to $650 million for the beer business. Shares of Constellation Brands lost 1.01 percent, closing at $84.40.
Quote Of The Day
“About time to unveil the D and something else.” - Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk in a tweet late Wednesday.
Bonus Quote Of The Day
"I don't think we've bought an IPO in over 50 years." – Warren Buffet commenting on Alibaba's recent IPO.
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