Markets Up, Closing News 5/25/11

The Dow closed up 38 points today bouncing back after the recent sell-offs, but closed off of the day’s high of +75 points.  Today’s gains allowed the Dow to avoid its first four day losing streak since August.

  • The durable goods report this morning highlighted the extended impact that the earthquake in Japan is still having on global supply chains.  Orders for durable goods were down 3.6% in April, compared to a 4.4% increase in March, and worse than analysts expectation of a 2.2% drop.
  • Finland’s Parliament approved a €78 billion bailout package for Portugal today, as the Greek government worked to build support for its austerity measures.  The strong opposition to the cost cutting has raised concerns that the EU will be forced to explore riskier options to resolve the Greek debt crisis, and one official warned the only option to the avoid the proposed budget cuts is to leave the European Union.  The Euro traded down 0.13% vs. the U.S. Dollar today.
  • In a split vote, the SEC approved a rule that will allow whistleblowers to receive 10-30% of sanctions recovered for useful information in investigations on fraud and other wrongdoing. There had been appeals by public companies that whistleblowers be required to go through internal compliance measures before reporting to the SEC, however the provision was not included in the final rule. see our own Clarke Camper's post on the topic.
  • A sad day in the business world as we bid farewell to CNBC “Squawk on the Street” anchor Mark Haines, who passed away at the age of 65. CNBC will be airing a tribute to Haines airing at 7:00 pm tonight.

Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed up 38.45 pts/+0.31% to 12,394.66
  • S&P closed up 4.19 pts/+0.32% to 1,320.47
  • Nasdaq closed up 15.22 pts/+0.55% to 2,761.38
  • 18 of the 30 Dow stocks closed up / 12 closed down
  • 7 of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up
  • Energy was the best performing sector (up 1.45%)
  • Consumer Staples was the worst performing sector (down 0.68%)
  • The VIX is down 0.82 pts to 17.00
  • Oil is up $1.77 to $101.36
  • Nat Gas is up $0.022 to $4.413
  • Gold is up $2.50 to $1,525.70
  • Euro vs. Dollar down $0.0020 to $1.4080
  • Dollar vs. Yen up $0.01 to $81.96

Companies in the News:

The Active Network, Inc. (NYSE: ACTV) a data, transaction, and sports marketing company, closed higher today (+6.00% to $15.90) after pricing its IPO at $15.00.

AIG shares fell (-4.01% to $28.28) after pricing its secondary offering at $29.00 last night.  AIG is selling 100 million new shares and the US Treasury is selling 200 million of its shares in the offering.  After the completion of the offering the U.S. Treasury’s stake in voting common stock will be cut to 77%.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. surged (+23.87% to $4.67) today after announcing that it has retained Blackstone Advisory Partners to review proposals to either partner with or invest in MSO as well as to explore other opportunities.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. announced an increased production today in their Marcellus shale in N.E. Pennsylvania.  The news that production has reached 400 Mmcf per day sent shares of COG higher (+7.07% to $57.25).

S&P announced that  at the close of business today, Alpha Natural Resources Inc. will replace Massey Energy in the S&P 500. Alpha Natural Resources is acquiring Massey Energy in a deal anticipated to become effective on June 1. Shares of ANR traded higher (+3.89% to $51.83) on the day.

Earnings:

Specialty retailer Express Inc.’s shares slid today (-12.02% to $20.12) after announcing its Q1 earnings after the market closed yesterday.  EXPR reported Q1 earnings per share of $0.39, just below estimates of $0.40, on revenue of $467 million ($440 million estimated), and announced FY guidance of $1.52-1.61 vs. estimates of $1.58.

Continuing the string of retailers reporting earnings, American Eagle Outfitters reported Q1 earnings before the bell today.  AEO reported earnings per share in-line at $0.14, but concerns about the price of cotton and a weak outlook for Q2 caused shares of AEO to close lower (-4.69% to $13.02) on the day.

Zale Corporation shares soared today (+18.33% to $5.23) after reporting better than expected Q3 results before the bell.  ZLC reported a $0.31 loss per share, better than the $0.58 loss that analysts were expecting.

Coming Thursday:

Economic Reports: Initial Claims (expected to be 410k) and 1Q GDP (expected to be 2.2%) at 8:30 am; Earnings from Big Lots, H.J. Heinz, and Sony Corp.