(RTTNews) - Investors are selling stocks in morning trading on Monday, as the price of oil rebounds from the losses seen in the previous week. A weak outlook from Lowe's (LOW) has also raised concerns about the health of consumer spending.
Oil prices are trading on the upside as Tropical Storm Fay approaches Florida. The storm has already prompted evacuations from some rigs and production platforms. The price of crude is currently up $0.74 at $114.51 a barrel.
Additionally, home improvement retailer, Lowe's issued a weak third quarter forecast, although it reported better than expected second quarter earnings. Lowe's said it expects third quarter earnings in a range of $0.27 to $0.31 per share, lower than analysts' estimates of $0.33 per share.
Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) confirmed that it expects to sign a confidentiality agreement with Electronic Arts (ERTS) allowing EA to enter into Take-Two's formal process to evaluate strategic alternatives. Take-Two also affirmed that it is continuing its discussions as part of this process to maximize value for stockholders.
In recent trading, the major averages are firmly in negative territory, although they have moved off of their worst levels of the day in the past few minutes.
While the broader markets are sharply lower, Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) is showing notable strength, climbing 5.3 percent to set another multi-year intraday high. The Dow is currently down 53.98 at 11,605.92, the Nasdaq is down 10.35 at 2,442.17 and the S&P 500 is down 5.16 at 1,293.04.
Housing stocks are turning in some of the worst performances ahead of the release of the results of the National Association of Home Builders' survey on homebuilder confidence in the month of August. The Philadelphia Housing Index is falling 2.8 percent, pulling back from the two-month closing high set in the previous session.
On Friday, most housing stocks saw notable gains after a Credit Suisse survey showed home buyer traffic improved in some of the hardest hit markets in July.
Airline stocks are also showing notable weakness, as oil prices are seeing a modest rebound. The Amex Airline Index is seeing a decline of 1.4 percent, reversing most of the gain posted on Friday. Within the airline sector, AirTran (AAI) and Continental Airlines (CAL) are among the biggest decliners, down 2.2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Bank stocks are also seeing declines, with the S&P Bank Index falling 1.8 percent. Freddie Mac (FRE) and Fannie Mae (FNM) are turning in two of the worst performances within the sector following a Barron's article that said it is likely that the U.S. Treasury will recapitalize the companies in the months ahead, utilizing the new powers granted by the new housing bill signed into law last month. Freddie Mac is currently down 8 percent, while Fannie Mae is falling 9.6 percent.
Other stocks that are posting notable losses include brokerage, disk drive and health care stocks. The Amex Securities Broker/Dealer Index is down 0.8 percent, the Amex Disk Drive Index is down 1.7 percent and the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Provider Index is down 0.8 percent.
On the other hand, some resource stocks are benefitting from higher commodity prices, including gold stocks. The Amex Gold Bugs Index is climbing 1.8 percent.
Stocks Driven By Analysts Comments
Among individual stocks, Lennox International (LII) is seeing significant selling pressure after being downgraded by an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets. The analyst downgraded the stock to a Hold rating from a Buy rating, citing valuation.
Shares of Lennox International are currently trading down 3.6 percent, ending a recent upward move. On Friday, the stock set an eight-month closing high.
Robert Half International (RHI) is also showing considerable weakness. The stock was downgraded to an Underweight rating by an analyst at Lehman. The analyst stated that the company has little near term upside due to current economic conditions. The stock is down 3.5 percent, pulling back off of the nine-month closing high set on Friday.
On the other hand, Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) is posting a notable gain after a Citigroup analyst upgraded the stock to a Buy rating, while also adding the stock to Citigroup's top pick list. Shares of Cadence Design are climbing 4.1 percent, adding to a gain posted in the previous session.
The major Asian markets ended Monday's session mostly lower, with the exception of the Australian and the Japanese markets. Japan's Nikkei 225 finished off the highs of the session, up 1.1 percent.
The major European averages are mostly lower on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are falling 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is seeing a decline of about 0.3 percent.
On the economic front, Eurostat, the European Commission's statistical body reported that the euro area's trade balance for June showed a deficit of 0.1 billion euros compared to a surplus of 7.5 billion euros last year. On a monthly basis, exports rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent and imports climbed 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, treasuries have moved firmly to the upside after lacking direction earlier in the day. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is currently down 2.1 basis points at 3.831 percent.
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updated Aug 18, 2008
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