New Home Sales Fall
Stocks have given up most of their early gains this morning as new housing data was just released. New-home sales dipped for the first time in 4 months last month. The Commerce Department reported sales dropped 0.9% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 321,000 homes. This dip comes after home sales rose 10% in the previous four months. Even with gains in new home sales, only 304,000 new homes were sold in 2011. That is the lowest number on record dating back to the early 1960s. Most economists look for 700,000 homes per year as healthy for the housing market. The major indices are starting to turn negative on this news. The Dow is down 1 point, the Nasdaq is up 3 points and the S&P 500 is up 2 points.
Oil Prices Continue to Rise
Oil prices are rising again today and are currently trading above $108/barrel. Prices continue to rise due to tensions between Iran and the western world. Prices at the pump will begin to reflect the change in oil prices in the coming days. Many analysts still believe that $5 per gallon on average could happen by summer. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is “no quick fix” to the rise in oil prices during an interview with CNBC. He didn’t rule out tapping domestic reserves either in order to alleviate increasing gas prices.
Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX) is up 16.51% this morning at $1.27. PEIX is up on extremely heavy volume today with 9.5 million shares traded so far. The stock trades 5.8 million shares a day on average. Pacific Ethanol announced yesterday it will release fourth quarter and full year results after market close on February 27. The company also announced it will present at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Agriculture Conference. The company has a market cap of 118.15 million.
OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OTVI) is up 10.20% today at $17.74. OTVI has traded 4.7 million shares so far today, well above its daily average of 2.4 million shares. OmniVision shares are rallying today thanks to third quarter results and a strong fourth quarter outlook. The company earned $0.13 per share in the third quarter, right at analysts’ estimates. OmniVision expects to report an adjusted profit of $0.15 to $0.28 per share in the fourth quarter. Analysts are expecting $0.10 per share for the fourth quarter. The company has a market cap of 1.03 billion.
Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. (NYSE:KCP) is up 19.51% this morning at $15.62. KCP has traded 791 thousand shares so far today, well above its daily average of 23 thousand shares. KCP shares are up today after the company offers to take the company private at $15 per share. The company has a market cap of 283.16 million.
Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) is down 16.94% today at $10.11. RBCN has traded 1.4 million shares so far today, more than 3 times its average volume. Rubicon is falling this morning after releasing fourth quarter results. Fourth quarter EPS came in at $0.04, less than the $0.07 analysts were estimating. Revenue fell 34% to $19.4 million. The company has a market cap of 230.71 million.
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:KND) is down 17.06% this morning at $10.36. KND has traded 1.5 million shares so far today, well above its daily average of 700 thousand shares. Kindred Healthcare is falling today after posting a fourth quarter loss. Fourth quarter adjusted EPS was $0.27 per share. Analysts were expecting $0.36 per share. The company has a market cap of 545.19 million.
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLDX) is down 9.63% today at $3.9350. CLDX is down on heavy volume today with nearly 5 million shares traded so far, 10 times its average volume. Celldex is slipping today after announcing public offering of 10.5 million shares at $3.85. The company has a market cap of 172.61 million.