After Market: Good News for Main Street Meant Worries for Wall Street


It was another confounding day in which good news was bad news on Wall Street. The Dow and the S&P ended well off session lows, but still lost ground for the fourth straight day despite several upbeat economic reports -- or perhaps because of them.
Portrait of black business woman shaking hands
AlamyNovember was a better month than expected on the hiring front.
ADP's read on private sector hiring showed a much better-than-expected 215,000 jobs were added last month; sales of newly built homes jumped 25 percent in October; and the Fed's Beige Book pointed to more economic growth at a moderate to modest pace.

But those reports just fueled worries that the Federal Reserve might see the strengthening economy as a sign that it was time to ease back on its stimulus measures. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 25 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) dipped 2 points, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) added less than a point. The Dow had been down 125 points.

Retail stocks continue to struggle this holiday season.

J.C. Penney (JCP) lost 4.5 percent, despite a nice jump in November sales. However, the comparison is against a horrible period a year ago, when Penney was in disarray thanks to the overhaul undertaken by then-CEO Ron Johnson, and Hurricane Sandy had just ripped though the Northeast.

Sears (SHLD) tumbled 8 percent after a company controlled by CEO Eddie Lampert lowered its stake in Sears to 48 percent from 55 percent. Express (EXPR) tumbled 23 percent following a downbeat earnings outlook. And Aeropostale (ARO), another mall-based chain, fell 4 percent ahead of its earnings report. But apparel maker G-III (GIII) jumped 14 percent on strong earnings and an upbeat outlook.

Another hard hit sector was oil refiners. There's concern that more Iranian crude on the market will hurt U.S. exports. Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and HollyFrontier (HFC) both lost 4 percent. Valero (VLO) and Tesoro (TSO) fell about 3 percent each.

And the big loser of the day was Ambit Biosciences (AMBI). It lost a third of its value after the FDA said that a drug it's developing to treat leukemia would require more trials, which can be both expensive and time consuming.

On the upside, Newmont Mining (NEM) rose 2 percent as the price of gold bounced higher for a second straight day. But Newmont shares over the past year are still down 47 percent -- closely tracking the price of gold.

And Microsoft (MSFT) gained 1.5 percent, rising to its highest level in 13 years.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department reports weekly jobless claims, and the Commerce Department releases its second estimate on third quarter economic growth.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac reports weekly mortgage rates, and the Commerce Department releases factory orders for October.
These major companies are due to report quarterly corporate earnings:
  • Dollar General (DG)
  • Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB)
  • Kroger (KR)
  • Toro (TTC)
  • TD Bank (TD)
  • Zumiez (ZUMZ)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Investor’s Toolbox

Improve your investing savvy with the right financial toolset.

View Course »

Introduction to ETFs

The basics of Exchange Traded Funds and why ETFs are hot.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

OMG...I'm so sorry to hear the sad sad news of refiner stocks losing value, not to worry however, the refineries will just lower production to "tighten" supply then the Commodity Market will respond accordingly and jack crude/gasoline futures. Continued high profits will carry on with the wallets of the sheep wide open.....meanwhile the jokers in Congress will look for life on Mars and in other parts of their demented brains.....

December 05 2013 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What happens when the inventory piles up? Just in time thinking takes over and you get laid off until they need you! The economy and infrastructure are crumbling.

December 05 2013 at 3:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stocks no longer exband the workforce economy they transform into a pyrimid scheme of gamblers who stamp their feet and cut production to boost profit. Notice after the 1987 crash everybody had to buy stocks ect through an investment which only caused job cuts through mergers and outsoucing. The only people that will be left is a couple of Wall Streeters trying to to get the other players money. Gee why don't they just play poker?

December 05 2013 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I truly believe that there are certain forces out there who manipulate the market for their own purpose.

December 05 2013 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SAM's comment

It's probably the flying pigs. It almost always is.

December 05 2013 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The stock markets no longer reflect the strength of businesses. The mega fast computerized trading is just a tool for major traders to skim the wealth out of America.

December 05 2013 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good News for Main Street Meant Worries for Wall Street ??

Just goes to show how screwed up this country is.

December 05 2013 at 12:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The sequester and the government SLOWdown have been great news for Main Street.

Just the policies the Panderer in Chief and his herd of useful idiots despise.

December 04 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

215,000 jobs created and that is supposed to be good news? That is pathetic! It takes 375,000 just to make up for normal attrition. I remember job creation numbers in the 800,000 a month category under Bush and Reagan. This economy is a disaster! Five years of this administration and this is what we get? A false market propped up with printed money. The day of reckoning and correction is coming. The wise should be prepared.

December 04 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to gtemplene's comment

First, while there isn't an exact number of jobs required to maintain employment levels in light of a growing population, the number is generally considered to be in the ballpark of 150,000/month, or well under half of your invented 375,000 figure.

More importantly, for several years now the economy has been the tale of two competing forces. On one side is technology, innovation and entrepreneurship (think fracking, 3D-printing, cloud computing, ubiquitous wirelss broadband and smartphones, and the like). On the other side is the burden of private sector austerity enforced by knuckle-dragging big government goons, which has been building since 2000 under both Republican and Democrat administrations and Congresses. The combination of positives and negatives has resulted in about 2% real GDP growth.

But recently, the goons have begun to be reined in. The sequester means that over the last year goon spending as a % of GDP has been on the decline. The flipside is that citizen spending and investment has been on the rise. And as productive American citizens slowly take back a larger share of the allocation of scarce economic resources, the overall economy is responding as expected.

Look for the recent modest increase in economic activity to continue to slowly expand if these underlying positive developments can be maintained.

December 04 2013 at 8:51 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dweeeb.buster's comment

Incorrect, its 375,000 not 150,000.

December 04 2013 at 10:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Too incompetent to do a Google search, eh baldbiker

December 05 2013 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

The working age population is increasing faster than the recovery. To keep unemployment from being reported higher they dump people into the not in the workforce column rather than report the truth. Because they use estimates that would make them estimated liars. All those people they neglected could of bought products and services but I guess the Wall st people can just scam each other out of their each other's assets instead of creating jobs.

December 05 2013 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

"They" don't just randomly categorize peoples employment status. Rather, the actual survey participants determine whether they are included in the workforce by virtue of their own responses.

December 05 2013 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Obama said today that is concerned about income disparity. This is what happens when you elect a communist for president.

December 04 2013 at 6:33 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to crimeslawyer's comment

We should all be concerned...remember, "let them eat cake" will come back and bite the piggies.

December 04 2013 at 6:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You don't know what communist means. Look it up so that you don't look so foolish.

December 05 2013 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wall street knows the gov't is lying.

December 04 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply