Initial Jobless Claims fell to 366,000 closing in on the recessionary threshold of 350,000. PPI was slightly higher than expected in November at 0.3%, and was up 5.7% year-over-year. The NY Fed Empire manufacturing survey came in at 9.53. Industrial Production fell 0.2% in November with Capacity Utilization at 77.8%. The Philly Fed Index came in at 10.3 in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke below its 200-day simple moving average on Wednesday and held its 50-day at 11,795. The Dow traded back above its 200-day on Thursday at 11,940 with a day’s high at 11,967.84. The close was between the 50-day and 200-day SMAs. The NASDAQ rebounded to a day’s high at 2565.94, but remains well below its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at 2615 and 2667. The day’s low was 2536.58.
Asian stocks were down again on Thursday with the Nikkei 225 ending the day at 8,377 – down 1.66%, and the Hang Seng ending the day at 18,027 – down 1.78%. European stocks moved higher consolidating week-to-date losses. The FTSE 100 ended the day at 5,401 – up 0.63%; the DAX ended the day at 5,731 – up 0.98%; and the CAC 40 ended the day at 2,999 – up 0.76%. The yield on the 10-Year US Treasury note declined to 1.863 percent from 1.915 then rose to 1.944.
Gold rebounded from $1567.2 the Troy ounce to $1596.5 under its 200-day simple moving average at $1614.6, then fell to $1562.5. Crude oil rebounded from $94.71 per barrel to $95.99 then declined to $93.36 below its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at $94.27 and 95.95. The euro versus the dollar rebounded from 1.2960 to 1.3047 staying above its January 2011 low at 1.2878.
Chevron (CVX) said it hasn’t received any formal notice of a Brazilian lawsuit against the oil giant and Transocean (RIG) seeking $10.7B in damages from an oil spill last month. Swift Energy (SFY) is started with a Buy and $40 target price at KeyBanc Capital, which has a Hold on Forest Oil (FST). KiOR, Inc (KIOR) is boosted to Neutral from Underweight at Robert W. Baird with a $10 target. First Solar (FSLR) is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert Baird with a new target of $35 (from $80). In afternoon trading: Shares of Gevo Inc. (GEVO) are up about 19%.
Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was trading at $65.72 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.42% on the day – down 3.71% year-to-date.
MeadWestvaco (MWV) is moved to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital. In afternoon trading: Shares of Allied Nevada Gold (ANV) are up about 8.25%. Shares of Georgia Gulf Corp. (GGC) are up about 8%. Shares of China Shen Zhou Mining (SHZ) are down about 8.5%. Heavily Active Stocks: Shares of Alcoa (AA) are down about 1.5%. Shares of Freeport McMoran (FCX) are down about 0.5%.
The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) was trading at $32.55 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.68% on the day – down 15.26% year-to-date.
FedEx (FDX) announced a deal to purchase 27 Boeing (BA) 767s as part of a fleet modernization effort even as it delays taking delivery of 11 777Fs “to better balance … capacity to demand.” FedEx (FDX) beat estimates by 5 cents with revenue in-line with estimates, and expects FQ3 EPS to be $1.25-$1.45 vs. consensus of $1.31. For FY12, the company reaffirms its estimate of $6.25-$6.75. Nordson (NDSN) reported EPS of $0.81 (in-line), while beating revenue by $10.5M. However, the company is guiding for FQ1 revenue of $270M-$281M and EPS of $0.54-$0.61, below a consensus of $288.9M and $0.68. Sterne Agee begins Buy rated coverage on Jacobs Engineering (JEC) and Fluor Corp (FLR) with respective price objectives are $53 and $65. Cintas (CTAS) is upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight by Barclays. In afternoon trading: Shares of Nordson (NDSN) are down about 10%.
The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) was trading at $32.75 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 0.71% on the day – down 6.08% year-to-date.
Marcus (MCS) beats estimates by a penny, while missing revenue by $3M. Winnebago Industries (WGO) missed estimates by 2 cents and revenue by $2M. Scholastic (SCHL) beat estimates by 29 cents with revenue in-line with estimates. Pier 1 Imports (PIR) reported Q3 EPS of $0.21 (in-line), while beating revenue by $4M. Brean Murray has Holds on Dangdang Inc (DANG) and Youku.com (YOKU). Amazon.com (AMZN) is resumed as an Outperform and $210 price objective at Morgan Keegan. AMC Networks (AMCX) is initiated with an Overweight at JP Morgan. Barclays begins covering Interpublic (IPG) at Overweight and assigns an Equal Weight on Omnicom (OMC). DIRECTV (DTV) is moved to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura. Deckers Outdoor (DECK) is slashed to Underperform from Buy at Sterne Agee. Borg Warner (BWA) is cut to Neutral from Buy at UBS. In afternoon trading: Shares of Deckers Outdoor are down about 10%.
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was trading at $38.12 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up slightly on the day – up 1.90% year-to-date.
Weider Nutrition International (WNI) missed estimates by 4 cents, while beating revenue by $8.4M. Rite Aid (RAD) beat estimates by 7 cents and revenue by $20M. In afternoon trading: Shares of Imperial Sugar (IPSU) are down about 25%. Shares of Diamond Foods (DMND) are down about 8.5%. Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) are down about 7%. Shares of Central European Distribution (CEDC) are up about 12%.
The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was trading at $31.81 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 1.02% on the day – up 8.53% year-to-date.
Chip equipment company Lam Research (LRCX) has agreed to acquire Novellus Systems (NVLS) in an all-stock transaction valued at $3.3B as the companies looks to challenge Applied Materials (AMAT). Novellus shareholders will receive 1.125 shares of LRCX for each of their shares, valuing the company at $44.42 a share, or about 12.5% above its closing price yesterday. Hospira (HSP) is a new Sell at UBS. Elan (ELN) is increased to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. Lam Research (LRCX) is lifted to Buy from Hold at Needham. PerkinElmer (PKI) is moved to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) gets added to the Conviction Buy List at Goldman. ViroPharma (VPHM) is upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at WBB Securities with a new target price of $31.25. Baxter (BAX) gets pulled from Goldman’s list of Conviction Buys. The bank also cuts Stryker (SYK) to Neutral from Buy and Boston Scientific (BSX) to Sell from Neutral. BioSante (BPAX) is lowered by both Leerink Swann (Market Perform from Outperform) and JMP Securities (Market Perform from Outperform.) In afternoon trading: Shares of Biosante Pharmaceuticals are down nearly 80%. Shares of Antares Pharma (AIS) are down about 33%. Shares of athenahealth (ATHN) are down about 18.5%. Shares of InterMune (ITMN) are down about 18.5%. Shares of Alexza Pharmaceuticals (ALXA) are down about 15%. Shares of Zoll Medical (ZOLL) are up about 28%. Shares of SonoSite (SONO) are up about 27%.
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) was trading at $33.71 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 1.11% on the day – up 7.02% year-to-date.
Regulators have discovered where the MF Global (MFGLQ) funds went, Jill Sommers, who’s heading the CFTC’s review of the bankrupt brokerage, has said. In what would be a high risk strategy, the SEC is considering appealing Judge Jed Rakoff’s rejection last month of a proposed $285M settlement between the agency and Citigroup (C), The Wall Street Journal reports. Credit Agricole SA (CRARY) is cut at BNP Paribas. In afternoon trading: Shares of MF Global are down about 7.25%. Shares of Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ) are down about 6%.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was trading at $12.57 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up slightly on the day – down 21.19% year-to-date.
Intel (INTC) is consolidating four units responsible for developing a variety of chips for mobile/portable devices into a single division. Intel hopes the move will put it on better footing in the fast-growing market for smartphone/tablet application processors, where ARM-based (ARMH) solutions reign supreme. Research In Motion (RIMM) may be facing a supply glut of as many as 3.1M BlackBerrys and is expected to cut its BlackBerry sales target. Nokia (NOK) plans to re-enter the U.S. smartphone market with the launch of the Lumia 710, which T-Mobile (DTEGY) will sell at $50 each starting January. Apple (AAPL) intends to join dozens of multinational companies and open an R&D center in Israel, its first such center outside of its California headquarters, Globes reports. VeriFone (PAY) beat estimates by 2 cents with revenue in-line with estimates, but the now sees revenue in the range of $415M – $420M and an EPS of $0.50 – $0.52 (versus estimates of $408M in revenue and an EPS of $0.53). Cisco Systems (CSCO) is begun with a Buy at Nomura, which has Neutrals on Riverbed Technology (RVBD) and Juniper Networks (JNPR). Brean Murray has Holds on Dangdang Inc (DANG) and Youku.com (YOKU). Acme Packet (APKT) is a new Neutral at JP Morgan. Maxim begins Cree Inc (CREE) with a Buy and $45 target and begins Sells on Aixtron (AIXG) – $15 target and Veeco Instruments (VECO) – $8 target. Apple (AAPL) is named a Long Research Tactical Idea at Morgan Stanley. Broadcom (BRCM) is taken to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo. Leap Wireless (LEAP) and MetroPCS (PCS) are both upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho. Aixtron (AIXG) is now Neutral from Reduce at WestLB. First Solar (FSLR) is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert Baird with a new target of $35 (from $80). Novellus (NVLS) is now Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital. In afternoon trading: Shares of Novellus are up about 18.5%. Shares of Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) are down about 13.25%.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) was trading at $25.02 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down 0.24% on the day – down 0.67% year-to-date.
Nokia (NOK) plans to re-enter the U.S. smartphone market with the launch of the Lumia 710, which T-Mobile (DTEGY) will sell at $50 each starting January. Leap Wireless (LEAP) and MetroPCS (PCS) are both upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho. AT&T (T) is moved to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie. In afternoon trading: Heavily Active Stocks: Shares of Sprint Nextel (S) are down about 1.5%. Shares of AT&T are relatively unchanged. Shares of Frontier Communications (FTR) are up about 0.4%. Shares of Verizon (VZ) are up about 0.5%.
The NASDAQ Telecommunications Index (IXTC) was trading at $193.28 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, down slightly on the day – down 14.24% year-to-date.
TECO Energy (TE) is hoisted to Hold from Sell by Deutsche Bank. In afternoon trading: Shares of Duke Energy (DUK) are up about 0.5%. Shares of Exelon (EXC) are up about 0.9%. Shares of Constellation Energy Group (CEG) are up about 2%. Shares of Genon Energy (GEN) are up about 1.7%. Shares of AES Corp. (AES) are up about 1.4%.
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) was trading at $35.03 at 4:00 PM on Thursday, up 1.21% on the day – up 11.77% year-to-date.
STOCKS: CVX, RIG, SFY, FST, KIOR, FSLR, GEVO, MWV, ANV, GGC, SHZ, AA, FCX, FDX, BA, NDSN, JEC, FLR, CTAS, MCS, WGO, SCHL, PIR, DANG, YOKU, AMZN, AMCX, IPG, OMC, DTV, DECK, BWA, WNI, RAD, IPSU, DMND, GMCR, CEDC, LRCX, NVLS, AMAT, HSP, ELN, LRCX, PKI, ONXX, VPHM, BAX, SYK, BSX, BPAX, AIS, ATHN, ITMN, ALXA, ZOLL, SONO, MFGLQ, C, CRARY, LEHMQ, INTC, ARMH, RIMM, NOK, DTEGY, AAPL, PAY, CSCO, RVBD, JNPR, APKT, CREE, AIXG, VECO, BRCM, LEAP, PCS, NVLS, ENER, T, S, FTR, VZ, TE, DUK, EXC, CEG, GEN, AES