The Dow extended its longest losing streak of the year to six days, suffering a triple digit loss after the Fed minutes were released at 2pm. It was a very choppy trading session as the market dropped, recovered, and dropped again heading into the close. The main issue at hand for investors remains a tapering of the central bank's bond-buying program aimed at stimulating the economy. As far as the economy goes, today's biggest report was on existing home sales. The National Association of Realtors says sales rose 6.5% in July to an annual rate of 5.39 million homes. Expectations had been for a figure of 5.15 million units annually. June's number was 5.08 million.
Home improvement giant Lowe's (LOW) jumped nearly 4% on a robust earnings beat. The chain reported profits of 88-cents a share versus expectations of 79-cents. That's up from 64-cents a year ago. Sales were also higher than estimates at $15.7 billion compared to $15.07 billion. Lowe's says it's drawing more business due to the housing recovery, echoing sentiments yesterday from its larger rival Home Depot. Today's gains put Lowe's at a new 52-week high.
Target (TGT) fell more than 3.5% despite a quarter that truly hit the bullseye. The retailer made $1.19 a share, a quarter better than expected. Revenue also topped estimates though not by as wide a margin coming in at $17.27 billion versus $17.265 billion. This is one of the few retailers we've seen surpass estimates for the quarter. Competitors like Wal-Mart, Kohls, and yesterday J.C. Penney all disappointed. Prior to today Target was up 16% overall in 2013.
Staples (SPLS) truly got hammered falling more than 15% on its earnings. The office giant missed estimates, with profits of 16-cents, versus expectations of 18-cents, which would have been flat from last year. Sales were also slightly below expectations at $5.31 billion versus $5.37 billion. Staples pointed to weak business in Europe and Australia. The stock hit its 52-week high last Tuesday and went into today's session up 47% year-to-date.
PetSmart (PETM) had a dog day, rolling over despite an earnings beat. Shares sank more than 5% on a report that showed the company logging profits of 89-cents a share when estimates were for 86-cents. Revenue met expectations at $1.71 billion which was up 6% from a year ago. Same-store sales rose 3.4% for the period and the company upped its outlook. Shares of PetSmart had been up a relatively modest 8% this year prior to today's losses.
Goldman Sachs (GS) dipped 1.5% as word spread of a costly trading glitch. The firm executed a bunch of botched transactions yesterday morning when an internal computer system sent out options orders at incorrect prices. There are multiple reports Goldman could wind up shelling out upwards of $100 million because of the mistake. Options officials are reviewing the trades and at least some are being canceled. Goldman released a statement saying "neither the risk nor the potential loss is material to the financial condition of the firm."