U.S. markets were modestly positive in the early afternoon
Thursday, but moved into the red after the minutes from the Fed's
last meeting were released.
The Dow Jones closed down 11.69 points while the S&P 500
dropped 3.09 and the Nasdaq closed down 11.69.
There were a lot of retail stocks moving on Thursday after
companies reported their same-store sales numbers, giving investors
a look at how the 2012 holiday shopping season panned out.
) shares rallied as much as three percent, despite the fact that
the company reported flat sales, less than the 1.3 percent that was
anticipated. Macy's (NYSE:
) beat expectations, but tumbled after the company cut its guidance
and said it would close five stores.
Shares of The Gap (NYSE:
) were up over two percent after the company reported a same-store
sales increase of five percent, more than the 3.6 percent that was
Retail Sales Roundup January 3, 2013
Macy's to Close Five Stores After Lowering
Are Retail Stocks a Value Play or Value Trap?
Overall, December looked to be a fairly strong month for auto
sales in the U.S., continuing a rebound seen in the sector over the
past few months. Total vehicles came in line with expectations at
15.3 million. Domestic vehicle sales were better than expected, at
11.97 million -- more than the 11.70 million that was
) and Ford (NYSE:
) shares rallied on Thursday, as both companies beat expectations.
) and Honda (NYSE:
) saw their shares slump as the companies reported weak sales
relative to the consensus estimates. (See:
December Auto Sales Roundup: Ford, GM Up on Sales
Investors got some glimpses of the state of U.S. jobs situation
on Thursday. ADP Nonfarm Employment Change beat expectations at
215,000 jobs -- the consensus estimate was for 133,000. Challenger
Job Cuts, a measure of the number of layoffs, declined by 22.1
percent from the prior year.
However, jobless claims came in slightly worse than expected,
with initial jobless claims rising to 372,000 -- more than the
In terms of the broader market direction, the most single
important factor on Thursday was the release of the minutes from
the FOMC's last meeting. Following that release, markets lost all
their gains and traded into the red.
The Fed's minutes revealed that "several" members of the Fed
believed that the bank would have to raise interest rates before
the end of 2013. Higher rates could limit stock gains.
Other Stock Stories
Shares of GameStop (NYSE:
) plummeted on speculation that Sony's (NYSE:
) next PlayStation would include technology to prevent gamers from
playing used games. (See:
Five Reasons Why PlayStation 4 Will Play Used
Longwei Petroleum Shares (NYSE:
) were obliterated, falling over 70 percent following a negative
) shares rallied almost 13 percent after
The Wall Street Journal
reported that fund manager Robert Chapman had taken a stake in the
MLM company, arguing that hedge fund magnate Bill Ackman would fail
in his quest to take down the company.
Shares of solar companies, including SunPower (NASDAQ:
) and First Solar (NASDAQ:
), rallied after a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire
Hathaway purchased some solar assets.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice.
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