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China and the U.S. took a backseat to positive story lines from Europe today, but that still wasn’t enough to push the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) into the green. The S&P 500 ended fractionally lower by 0.11 points (0.01%), to 1460.15. Reports indicate that Spain is making its case for receiving a $78 billion bailout fund in exchange for certain financial reforms. While not a snap-of-the-fingers fix, investors are excited that the bailout and subsequent reforms will lessen the direness of Spain’s financial situation. A report from Greece also showed that tourism to the country was far better than anyone had anticipated, which should help rejuvenate its ailing economy.
Let’s have a look at some of the individual stocks that moved the S&P 500 in a big way today.
Companies that helped the S&P 500
Shares of online travel company Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE ) continued their ascent to the heavens, up another 4%, following "buy" ratings and positive comments from two separate analysts. Analysts at both Deutsche Bank and Cantor Fitzgerald singled out recent website and platform upgrades, which should help drive Expedia’s growth. Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler declared the stock a bargain to its peers, with Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Naved Khan noting the possibility of a tripling of room night growth because of the upgrades.
Mobile service provider MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS ) shook off an early downgrade from Standpoint Research to "hold" from "buy" to finish the day up 4%, as well. The real boost came from an announcement that MetroPCS would begin carrying the incredibly popular iPhone alternative, the Samsung Galaxy S III. However, before you get too excited about this news, keep in mind that MetroPCS has been losing customers at a fairly steady rate for multiple quarters.
Companies that hindered the S&P 500
Shares of Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NYSE: GT ) were flat in today’s trading, down nearly 5%, following a downgrading onslaught of the tire sector by KeyBanc. Both Goodyear and Cooper Tire & Rubber saw their ratings shaved to "hold" from "buy," due to uncertainty surrounding prices and demand of tires in China. A tire tariff is scheduled to end next Friday, and no one is really certain whether these companies will lower their prices to gain market share, or keep them the same to reap better margins. Either way, CEO Richard Kramer’s comments that Goodyear remains on track to reach $1.6 billion in operating income in 2013 leads me to believe this could be a buying opportunity.
Retail accessories company Coach (NYSE: COH ) extended its backslide, falling 4%, following a second-quarter earnings update from Michael Kors. Michael Kors noted that comparable-store sales are up a blistering 45.1% quarter-to-date, with some analysts speculating that Kors is taking market share from Coach. Growth for Michael Kors has been unwavering in Europe and the U.S., whereas Coach has struggled with U.S. consumers, and has had to revert to coupons in order to drive traffic.
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