Stocks rallied in early trading, but ultimately closed mixed for the day.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: +79.78 (+0.49%)
- S&P 500: +1.00 (+0.25%)
- Nasdaq: -10.50 (-0.24%)
And now, the top stories of the day:
The US Economy
Initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week, totaling around 285,000. “Some of January’s disappointments in claims may have been attributed to giveback following elevated levels of hiring of temporary workers over the holidays,” BNP Paribas’ Derek Lindsey wrote.
Moreover, layoff announcements surged 218% from December to January led by the retail and energy sectors. Business Insider’s Akin Oyedele noted that retail was perhaps the biggest swing factor here, especially Walmart, which announced plans to close 269 stores across America.
Worries about the future
Deutsche Bank’s Joe LaVorgna thinks that the decline in corporate profit margins is a glaring indicator that, in a worst case scenario, a recession could be here within a few months.
Additionally, UBS equity strategist Julian Emanuel revised his 2016 S&P 500 year-end target down to 2,175 from 2,275. His target has been among the most bullish on Wall Street at the end of last year.
Emanuel also added if any of the headwinds — particularly from China’s economy — get worse, then there’s a risk that stocks could fall 8% below current levels in the next few weeks.
Jobs day is tomorrow
After the rocky month for stocks, less-than-stellar corporate profits, and continued lower oil prices, many economists aren’t expecting a slam dunk jobs report in January. Folks are worried about the struggling manufacturing sector and any possible effects from January’s colder weather.
Notably, Goldman Sachs couldn’t identify a single reason why Friday’s report will be great, as Business Insider’s Akin Oyedele observed.
Most importantly, economists will be looking to see whether the January jobs report is a sign Q4 slowdown is starting to show in the labour market or if this report might just be a seasonal quirk that will be revised up later.
Morgan Stanley’s Adam Longson thinks that the rebalancing of the crude oil market will take longer than everyone was expecting.
And he’s not the only one buckling in for the long ride.
The Ryan Lance, the CEO of the world’s largest independent oil and gas driller, ConocoPhillips, said in an earnings release on Thursday that “it’s prudent to plan for lower prices for a longer period of time.”
Notably, ConocoPhillips posted an adjusted earnings-per-share loss of $0.65 for the fourth quarter, and lowered its quarterly dividend to $0.25 from $0.74. It also lowered its full-year capital expenditure projection to $6.4 billion from $7.7 billion.
Retail store owner Kohl’s and clothing maker Ralph Lauren both crashed on Thursday morning.
Ralph Lauren reported earnings per share of $1.54, below expectations of $2.13 per share. The company also projected lower profit margins for the quarter and year ahead.
Kohl’s also had some ugly news. The company lowered its EPS guidance for 2015 to $3.95 to $4.00 from $4.40 to $4.60. It is expected to report full earnings on February 25.
These earnings releases come as two more disappointments in the larger, struggling retail industry. Notably, Michael Kors’ CEO John Idol said that rick and mortar retailers have been struggling since consumers shifted to online shopping.
Anti-austerity protests are paralyzing Greece.
Donald Trump’s poll numbers plunged in the first national survey after Iowa.
GoPro’s CEO Nick Woodman said in the quarterly earnings call that GoPro is not a “camera company” but rather a “activity capture company.“
The markers of Barbie and Furby could be getting together.
South Africa has a lot of problems.
Subway killed the $5 footlong.
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