- Dow Jones Industrial Average down 14.76(-0.11%) to 13,059.99
- S&P 500 down 0.89 (-0.06%) to 1,398.06995
- Nasdaq Composite up 12.41 (+0.40%) to 3,080.50
- Hang Seng Index down 0.95%.
- China Shanghai Composite Index up 1.74%,
- FTSE 100 up 0.35%.
Stocks finished the week with small declines, unable to build much momentum in either direction today following two days of falling prices earlier this week. Most industry sectors in the S&P 500 ended in the red although strong retail sales at many stores during March lifted consumer discretionary shares higher today. Technology stocks also closed higher, helping the Nasdaq Composite index end with a small advance.
New claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 to 357,000 last week, the Labor Department reported today, bolstering confidence for tomorrow's non-farm payrolls report. Analysts polled by Marketwatch are expecting U.S. employers added about 200,000 workers last month.
Retailers also helped keep stocks within close range of even today, with most stores reporting strong sales for March.
Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) hit a new 52-week high today after saying same-store rose 6.8% during its fiscal Q2. T.J. Maxx parent TJX Cos. (TJX) and Ross Stores Inc. (ROST) also set new highs for the year after their respective sales last month topped expectations and the companies raised their Q1 outlooks. Discounter Target Corp. (TGT) and department-store operator Macy's Inc. (M) also reported better-than-expected March results.
But shares of teen Buckle Inc. (BKE) shares fell over 6% after March sales for the teen retailer rose 6.4%, missing the 8.8% average estimate. Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) also missed forecasts with a 6% rise, below estimates for a 6.7% increase.
Commodity prices rebounded today also working to keep the major indices from posting steeper losses. Gold for June delivery gained nearly 1%, settling at $1,628.50 an ounce, up $16.20. May crude oil finished just off its high for the session, adding $1.84 to close at $103.31 a barrel. Natural gas tumbled again after a new inventory report showed a higher-than-expected build in supplies last week, settling at $2.09 per 1 million British thermal units, down 5 cents.
(+) ALTH, Receives $206-million buyout offer from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals
(+) WOLF, KSL Capital Partners offers $6.25 a share, topping Apollo Global Management bid.
(+) GTIM, March Same-Store sales rise 7.9%
(-) SPPI, Disappointing Phase II for prospective bladder cancer drug.
(-) PLCM, Cuts Q1 revenue forecast due to Asia Pacific and North American shortfalls.
(-) PMTC, Trims fiscal Q2 guidance below Street call.