Stocks rallied, lifting the S&P 500 above its previous closing high after more positive data on the US labour market.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,240.26, +179.77, (1.00%)
- S&P 500: 2,119.05, +20.57, (0.98%)
- Nasdaq: 5,043.06, +61.37, (1.23%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
- In economic data, the latest tally of initial jobless claims moved the four-week average to the lowest since April 2000. Last week, 264,000 initial jobless claims were filed, lower than the expectation for 273,000, and down from 265,000 last week.
- And, producer prices fell 0.4% in April, below expectations for a 0.1% increase from the prior month. Prices fell 1.3% year-over-year. Chris Rupkey at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi wrote in an email: “Net net, the weekly unemployment claims and PPI inflation data tell a story of the tightest labour markets in decades but no inflation at the industry level … At least we can say that the best labour market conditions in decades is not boosting inflation pressures in the economy yet. So far so good on the inflation front.”
- Avon got a buyout offer from a company that nobody can find. On Thursday afternoon, a regulatory filing showed that PTG Capital offered to buy the cosmetics retailer for $US18.75 per share. That was three times Avon’s trading price before the filing dropped of about $US6.60 . The filing had spacing issues, and twice referred to a “TPG” partners. Avon said it did not receive any such offer; the SEC is reviewing the offer, according to Bloomberg. Avon’s stock was halted at least twice, and spiked by as much as 19% after the news, before retreating to around $US7.07 per share, a 6% gain. Avon’s sales have been in decline, and it is reportedly considering a sale of some or all of its North American units.
- Kohl’s Corporation shares tanked by more than 13% after the company reported weak quarterly sales. The department store retail chain posted sales on Thursday morning of $US4.12 billion (vs $US4.19 expected,) and diluted earnings per share of $US0.63 (vs $US0.55.) Macy’s and JCPenney also reported lacklustre results this week, underscoring research that shows millennials are spending less on clothes than young people did a decade ago, as Business Insider’s Ashley Lutz reports.
- Shake Shack shares rallied more than 8% and then tumbled to close down more than 2%. The rally came after Shake Shack reported first-quarter earnings at the end of trading on Wednesday that beat expectations. On Thursday, some analysts said the quarter was a “historically impressive ‘beat and raise‘” period for the company. Others said that while the company’s quarter was “pretty darn good,” it isn’t quite on Chipotle’s level yet.
- Digital Ally fell more than 13% after it reported a quarterly earnings loss, and said it’s struggling to keep up with demand for police body cameras. The company posted a first quarter net loss of $US1.90 per share, compared to -$US0.39 the previous year, on revenues of $US4.2 million. “As a result of certain component shortages, we were restricted in the number of FirstVU HD body-worn cameras that we were able to ship in the three months ended March 31, 2015,” CEO Stanton Ross said. He noted a surge in demand because of “widely publicized civil unrest in a number of US cities.”
- Computer Sciences Corp. shares jumped by more than 3% on a report that it’s planning to break up. The company intends to separate its government business from its commercial information technology division, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The company is already trying to cut costs. It’s still open to being bought, but it’s more tax efficient to give shareholders a stake in a new company, Reuters reported. The company’s market cap is $US9.4 billion.