I wouldn't say that the popping of the cork for yesterday's New Year rally has seen the champagne go flat today, but action remains relatively calm as the Dow now battles back near the 8,590 level after briefly trading a session low in the past hour at 8,553. While a 37-point swing in the past 30-minutes in the Dow isn't that much of an intra-day swing, it is today as the major indexes look to digest yesterday's gains.
Shares of Forest Labs (NYSE:FRX) $106.30 +6.25% broke above their tight trade from $105 in the last 30-minutes to set a session high and the stock now begins to look capable of a test of this year's 52-week highs found earlier in December of $109.98.
Dow component General Motors (NYSE:GM) $38.55 -1.02% is giving back 40-cents of yesterday's $2.09 advance after the company released U.S. sales data that showed a 36% increase in December as unit sales were spurred by incentives. While December sales jumped to 473,663 vehicles, total sales of 2002 slumped 1% from 2001 to 4,858,705.
Number two automaker Ford (NYSE:F) 9.67 -2.71% had said that sales in December rose 8.2% compared to last year on an increase in corporate and rental car sales. Looking ahead, Ford is raising production for the first quarter of 2003 because of December's strength. The automaker's expectations for the year call for modestly lower sales, but forecasts at the beginning of the year typically tend toward the conservative.
Toyota Motor said U.S. sales in December rose 2% to 141,491 units, yielding a record 1.76 million vehicles sold in 2002, up 0.9%. For 2002, Toyota brand sales totaled 1.52 million vehicles, or a 0.3% gain, and higher-end Lexus sales rose 4.5 percent to 234,109 vehicles.
"Little Dow Dog" Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) $37.45 +4.43% has moved into the top spot of today's Dow gainers list. We discussed this stock in depth earlier this week in our "Ask the Analyst" column regarding relative strength as we looked to "understand" how relative strength may have pointed to last year's biggest Dow gainer on a percentage basis. Today's upgrade by Deutche Bank to "buy" from "hold" isn't hurting the stock as the firm cited the company's improving analog to digital consumer photo strategy, solid Q4 expectations, expectations for "upbeat guidance" on January 22nd, and a 5% dividend as reasons to own the stock. Based on the firmst discounted cash flow assumptions, Deutche is raising its price target to $45 from $35.