Consumer Stocks Inching Higher; CVS Caremark Scraps Cigarette Sales, Shares of Rivals Rise
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Consumer stocks are slightly higher this afternoon, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 advancing 0.1%. Shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 are up less than 0.1%.
In company news, CVS Caremark ( CVS ) shares fell this afternoon after the drugstore retailer Wednesday said it will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 store locations by Oct. 1.
The nation's second largest drugstore chain will begin phasing out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, saying it expects to lose about $2 billion in annual revenue, or about 1.6% of its 2012 sales. It did not change its forecast for FY14 per-share earnings.
The company declined to say what will replace tobacco behind cash registers at the front of its stores.
CVS shares were down 0.6% at $65.69 each in recent trade, near their best levels of the session. Shares of rival drugstore chains were mostly higher, with Walgreen's ( WAG ) gaining 2.3% and Rite Aid ( RAD ) adding around 1.5%.
In other sector news,
(+) GTN, (+4.6%) Raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
(-) CHRW, (-8.8%) Q4 EPS of $0.62 misses by $0.06 per share. Revenue advances 6.1% over year-ago levels to $3.15 bln, lagging Wall Street expectations by around $110 mln. Truckload revenues decrease 5.6% year over year while truckload volume rose 7%.