Mid-Day Update: Stocks Back to Near Even as Jobless Claims Drop Bolsters Confidence for Friday Employment Report

By MidnightTrader.com Staff,

Shutterstock photo

Stocks are paring their early losses, supported by new employment data pointing to continued improvement for U.S. workers and some renewed buying following two days of steep declines this week.

The Labor Department today said new claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 to 357,000 last week. The more stable four-week average declined to 361,750 from 366,000, falling again to its best levels in four years. It also bolstered confidence for tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report, which is projected to show an increase of 200,000, according to economists polled by MarketWatch.

Retailers also are helping keep stocks within close range of even today, with most stores reporting strong sales for March.

Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. ( BBBY ) has traded 9% higher and hit new year highs today after reporting better-than-expected Q4 profit. Comparable sales rose 6.8%. Shares of T.J. Maxx parent TJX Cos. ( TJX ) also hit new year highs as did rival Ross Stores Inc. ( ROST ) after their respective sales last month topped expectations and the companies raised their Q1 outlooks. Discounter Target Corp. ( TGT ) and department-store operator Macy's Inc. ( M ) also reported better-than-expected March results.

Buckle Inc. (BKE) shares fell over 6% after the teen retailer's March sales rose 6.4%, missing the 8.8% average estimate. Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) also missed forecast, saying sales rose 6%, below estimates for a 6.7% increase. Results for warehouse retailer included a 6% increase in the U.S. and a 7% gain overseas.

A rebound in commodity prices today also is helping to keep the major indices within close range of even today. At last look, gold for June delivery is more than 1% higher at $1,631.50 an ounce, up $17.40. May crude oil is up $1.41 to $102.88 a barrel. Natural gas tumbled again after a new inventory report showed a higher-than-expected build in supplies last week.

Among the energy ETFs, the United States Oil fund is up 0.62% to $39.08 while the United States Natural Gas fund is down 1.43% to $15.83. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF is down 1.00% at $46.24 and the SPDR Gold Shares fund is up 0.56% to $158.09. The iShares Silver Trust is up 1.20% to $30.69.

Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 15.80 (-0.19%) to 8,090.99.

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.23 (+0.00%) to 13,074.98.

S&P 500 up 0.72 (+0.05%) to 1,399.68.

NASDAQ Composite up 13.82 (+0.45%) to 3,081.91.


Nikkei 225 down 0.53%.

Hang Seng Index down 0.95%.

China Shanghai Composite Index up 1.74%,

FTSE 100 up 0.35%.


NYSE Energy Index up 0.05% to 12,669.5117

NYSE Financial Index down 0.28% to 4,699.68.

NYSE Healthcare Index down 0.36% to 7,389.00.


(+) ALTH, (+26.9%) Receives $206-million buyout offer from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals

(+) WOLF (+14.4%) KSL Capital Partners offers $6.25 a share, topping Apollo Global Management bid.


(-) SPPI, (-7.7%) Disappointing Phase II for prospective bladder cancer drug.

(-) PLCM, (-17.4%) Cuts Q1 revenue forecast due to Asia Pacific and North American shortfalls.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: BBBY , M , ROST , TGT , TJX

More from MT Newswires


MT Newswires

MT Newswires

Follow on:

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Data Provided by BankRate.com