There was no major economic news out of the U.S. today. But a couple of big retailers made some big moves after announcing their earnings.
First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 15,002.9, -7.7, -0.0%
  • S&P 500: 1,652.3, +6.2, +0.3%
  • NASDAQ: 3,613.5, +24.5, +0.7%

And now, the top stories:

  • The Emerging Markets continue to be an awful place for investors. Indonesia plunged 5% as the company struggles to address its ballooning current account deficit and collapsing investor confidence. Thailand fell 3%.
  • JC Penney announced Q2 revenues and net losses that were much worse than expected. “Comparable store sales declined 11.9% in the quarter, and were negatively impacted by the Company’s failed prior merchandising and promotional strategies, which resulted in unusually high markdowns and clearance levels in the second quarter,” said management in its earnings announcement this morning. Still, the stock managed to close up by 6%.
  • Barnes & Noble got punished by investors and traders today. The book chain reported a whopping $US87 million net loss in Q2. Among other things, its Nook book reader business saw revenues plummet 20% from a year ago. Also, the company’s chairman and biggest shareholder Leonard Riggio said he’ll no longer be making an offer to buy Barnes & Noble’s retail business. The stock fell 12%.
  • Best Buy blew away expectations with its Q2 financial performance. “In November at our investor meeting, we talked about the two problems we had to solve: declining comparable store sales and declining operating margins,” said CEO Hubert Joly. “While we are clear there is much more work ahead, we have made measurable progress since… last year, including near flat comparable store sales, substantive cost take outs, and better-than-expected earnings in the past three consecutive quarters.” Shares closed up 13%.
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