Remember when markets soared last week after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro? Apparently something was lost in translation, and markets fell hard following an announcement that the ECB would not undertake immediate action to stave off surging Italian and Spanish bond yields. Instead, it appears there will be plenty of debate and negotiations with other eurozone member countries before any tangible action takes place. European stocks fell across the board on the news, with Spain's IBEX 35 index declining 5.2% for the day and its 10-year government bond yield soaring above 7%. The U.S. followed suit, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) both falling about 0.7%.
Aside from Draghi's comments, the story dominating headlines today is the fallout from a disastrous trading glitch at market maker Knight Capital Group (NYSE: KCG ) yesterday. Shares of Knight fell 63% today following the software-driven trading errors, which led to losses of $440 million. That's a big number, especially when you consider that it exceeds Knight's last reported cash balance of $364 million. That predicament forced the company to announce it was pursuing alternatives to shore up its balance sheet -- not the best of bargaining positions, if you ask me.
Yesterday in my market preview, I wrote about upcoming earnings releases for First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) , two stocks that had performed terribly over the past year. While those annual performance numbers are still terrible, they're a little better following incredible gains today. Shares of First Solar soared 21% after announcing earnings that blew past analyst estimates. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.65, more than doubling up on expectations of $0.71 and calming investor fears around the company's ability to transition from a low-margin module manufacturer to large-scale solar solutions provider.
While First Solar's gain was merited given the blowout earnings, Green Mountain's numbers don't seem to justify the massive 26% boost its shares saw today. After all, the company lowered its full-year outlook well below existing expectations. So what caused the spike? Short covering, that's what. With more than 20% of its float sold short at last check, the gains were probably driven by bears closing their positions by buying back their borrowed shares.
Will today's gains provide some momentum for Green Mountain shares going forward now that the shorts are flushed out? We'll have to wait and see. After all, there is no debating a few of the key threats facing the company in the coming months. In our brand-new premium research report on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, we walk you through the key things investors must know with this company. We'll also provide a full year of updates to go with it, so make sure to claim your copy today.