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 reporting finding American employers
added 325,000 private sector jobs during December worked to boost
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
In company news:
Barnes & Noble Inc. (
) 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. (
) 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. (
) slashed its fiscal fourth-fourth quarter guidance as sales and
traffic were softer than anticipated. Target Corp. (
) 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.
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