Mid-Day Update: Stocks Still Lower as Surprisingly Strong Jobs Data Fails to Overcome Weak Retail News

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Stocks are lower at mid-day, following overnight declines in Asia that continued into Europe this morning. Disappointing news by U.S. retailers helped extend the pessimism and not even a surprisingly strong ADP jobs report finding American employers added 325,000 private sector jobs during December worked to boost equities.

The U.S. Department of Labor tomorrow reports its monthly non-farm payrolls survey. Economists are expecting 150,000 new jobs, the highest number since June 2010, according to Bloomberg. The labor agency today said fewer americans filed first-time jobless claims, with applications falling by 15,000 people to 372,000 last week. That was better than the 375,000 new claims economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting.

Stocks extended declines after the Institute for Supply Management's index of U.S. non-manufacturing industries, which account for about 90% of the economy, rose to 52.6 in December from 52 a month earlier, trailing the median forecast of economists for a reading of 53.

Elsewhere, France completed the first major bond auction of the year, selling nearly 8 billion euros in 10-year notes. Yields increased slightly to 3.29%, higher than an equivalent auction in December, but in line with current prices. The euro fell 1% on the news.

In company news:

Barnes & Noble Inc. ( BKS ) slashed its guidance for the current year and said it is exploring a plan to separate its successful but costly Nook electronic-book business. Shares sank nearly 24%. The company now expects a per-share loss of $1.10 to $1.40 on revenue of $7 billion to $7.2 billion and same-store sales growth of 1% for the fiscal year ending in April. In August the company had forecast for a loss of 10 cents to 50 cents on revenue of $7.4 billion and same-store sales growth of 2% to 3%.

Macy's Inc. ( M ) reported a 6.2% rise in same-store sales and raised its full-year financial projections. The department store operator, which has been outperforming its rivals, also doubled its quarterly dividend and unveiled an additional $1 billion in sharebuybacks.

J.C. Penney Co. ( JCP ) slashed its fiscal fourth-fourth quarter guidance as sales and traffic were softer than anticipated. Target Corp. ( TGT ) also lowered its earnings outlook for the quarter.

Commodities are also are lower with gold for February delivery down $3.30 to $1,609.50 an ounce. Light, sweet crude oil for February delivery currently is down $1.03 at $102.19 a barrel with prices firming somewhat after the weekly EIA inventory report reported U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 2.20 million barrels to 329.70 million barrels last week. Gasoline and natural gas inventories also rose.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 0.5% at $39.58. The United States Natural Gas ETF (UNG) is down over 1.8% at $6.60.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 82.22 (-1.08%) to 7,529.93

-DJIA down 100.50 -0.81% to 12,317.92

-S&P down 7.84 (-0.61%) to 1,269.46

-Nasdaq down 6.88 (-0.26%) to 2,641.48

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.8%

Hang Seng up 0.5%.

Shanghai Composite down 1.0%.

FTSE-100 down 0.8%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy is down 1.4% to 12,612

NYSE Financial is down 1.2% to 4,097.83

NYSE Health Care is down 0.9% to 7,036.56

NYSE Arca Tech 100 is down 0.1% to 1,081.08

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) DNDN, (+42.9%) Anti-tumor drug sales improve

(+) ZUMZ, (+%) Raises outlook following strong December results

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-), AEO (-11.1%) Sales rise but retailer cuts outlook



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

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


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BKS , JCP , M , TGT , USO

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