Markets Mixed, Closing News 3/29/12

Markets spent most of the day in negative territory pressured by the latest economic risks facing the Eurozone, a slightly higher jobless claims number and some chagrin over flat GDP results.  The Dow did manage to close up as investors stepped into the day’s downward trend.


Troubles abound in Europe as Spanish unions staged strikes against government budget cuts, a day before the national budget for 2012 is set to be announced.


Oil prices tumbled today after Ali Naimi, minister of petroleum and mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, stated in an Op Ed in the Financial Times that the world does not benefit from high oil prices.  He noted that Europe is struggling with its economic growth targets and high prices are adding to trade balance deficits and inflationary pressures.   Mr. Naimi noted that it is the perceived shortage of oil that is keeping prices high.  As the world’s largest producer of oil, Saudi Arabia is charged with doing what it can to mitigate oil prices.  Mr. Naimi confirmed that supply is robust and the country will supply the necessary amounts to keep prices in check.


Natural Gas hit an intraday fresh 10-year low


Market Indices/Statistics:



  • Dow closed up 19.61 pts/+0.15 to 13,145.82

  • S&P closed down 2.26 pts/-0.16% to 1,403.28

  • Nasdaq closed down 9.60 pts/-0.31% to 3,095.36

  • 11 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

  • 5 of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up

  • Utilities was the best performing sector (+0.37%); Financials was the worst performing sector (-1.07%)

  • The VIX was up 0.01 to 15.48

  • Oil is down $2.08 to $103.33

  • Nat Gas is down $0.133 to $2.149

  • Gold is up $2.30 to $1,662.80

  • Dollar vs. Euro is up $0.001 to $1.332

  • Dollar vs. Yen is down $0.14 to $82.71

Companies in the News:


Millennial Media (MM, +$12.00/+92.31% to $25.00) posted a 94.4% gain from its offering price.  The company priced 10.2 million shares at $13, the high end of an increased range.  Shares of the 2nd largest mobile advertising display company in the U.S. opened and closed at $25.00 trading a total of 16.8 million shares.


Sprint Nextel Corp (S, +$0.15/+5.3% to $2.98) were active today after Deutsche Bank reportedly noted that tests of the company’s LTE network performed comparably to its rivals.


Earnings:


Best Buy (BBY, -$1.85/-7.0% to $24.77) lost $1.7 billion or $4.89 per share in Q4.  Excluding items, EPS were $2.47 vs. expectations of $2.16 per share.  Sales were $16.63 billion which was below expectations of $17.23 billion.  The company said it would be closing 50 stores and laying off 400 corporate and support employees in an effort to improve operating performance.  Many thought their efforts were not aggressive enough which also pressured the stock.


The Mosaic Co (MOS, -$2.95/- 5.1% to $55.27) shares were under pressure again today after the company reported Q3 EPS of $0.64 vs. expectations of $0.74; revenue was $2.2 billion vs. expectations of $2.13 billion. Earnings were impacted by lower potash fertilizer sales and higher costs in phosphate fertilizer.


Movado Group Inc. (MOV, +$2.16/+9.7% to $24.43) reported EPS of $0.24 vs. expectations of $0.10.  The company cited growth across all its brand categories as the reason for a double digit increase in sales.  The company also announced that it would be paying a special $0.50 per share dividend.  Citigroup raised its price target on the stock to $28 from $24.


Red Hat (RHT, +$10.04/+19.5% to $61.43) was the biggest S&P gainer after reporting Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.29 vs. expectations of $0.27; revenue was $297 million vs. expectations of $291.2 million.  Income improved as strong demand boosted margins and revenue.  The company also announced a new $300 million stock repurchase program, and several analysts raised their ratings and price targets on the company.


Research in Motion (RIMM, -$0.06/-0.4% to $13.73) shares were under pressure in late night trading after the company reported Q4 EPS of $0.80 per share vs. estimates of $0.81; revenue $4.2 billion vs. expectations of $4.54 billion.  Disappointing revenue and a few key management departures, including the resignation of former co-CEO and board member Jim Balsillie, sent the stock down 5%.


Coming Friday:


Economic Reports: Feb. Personal Income and Spending (+0.4% and +0.6% expected) at 8:30 a.m.; March Chicago Purchasing Manager (63.0 expected) at 9:45 a.m.; March U. of Michigan Confidence (74.5 expected) at 9:55 a.m.    Earnings:  Centrais Eletricas Brasilei (est: $0.31), Gafisa S/A ADS (est: $0.10)  Nasdaq earnings: Finish Line Inc. (est: $0.81)


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