Stocks drifted lower today amid renewed concerns about troubled European nation, Cyprus. The DJIA fell 0.63% to 14,421, the S&P 500 fell 0.82% to 1,546, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.96% to 3,223. This despite a flurry of decent economic data. Existing home sales climbed 0.8% percent in February to an annual rate of 4.98 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. That reading was still slightly below estimates. Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000. Still, the trend dropped to its lowest level in five years. Finally, the Conference Board says leading indicators rose 0.5% in February to 94.8, marking a third consecutive gain.
Shares of Oracle (ORCL) tumbled nearly 10% after its disappointing earnings report which was released after yesterday's closing bell. Oracle's management is blaming expanding sales force for steep declines in both its hardware and software businesses. The company says a shift toward doing business in the cloud could also hurt future earnings.
Shares of Lululemon (LULU) were up 1.2% after the company reported its quarterly earnings. Lulu says it had a 48% rise in net income over the same period last year. It earned 75-cents a share, topping estimates by a penny. But the real story may be the coming quarter. That's when effects of its yoga pants recall will be felt. Earlier this week the store removed many of its signature bottoms from store shelved because they were too sheer. Lululemon now projects same-store sales growing between 5% to 8%. The prior guidance was 11%.
KB Home (KBH) saw its share prices rise 2.5% on the heels of its earnings release. KB says its quarterly losses narrowed on stronger revenues and margin growth. The company reported a 29% increase in home deliveries and a 24% increase in the average selling price of its properties. KB has been lagging behind its peers in part because it had fewer sales communities open as the housing market began its recovery.
Investors have a lot of questions about Guess (GES). Shares fell 7% after the company reported earnings after yesterday's closing bell. Guess earned 85-cents a share, missing estimates by 3-cents. Guess says it has been forced to offer more discounts because of weakness in Europe and a drop in store traffic here.
Yahoo! (YHOO) shares rose more than 3% on an upgrade. Oppenheimer has raised the company to outperform from perform and raised its price target to $27, up $5 from its prior target. Shares may also have been moved by news that Yahoo! is acquiring Jybe. The company, which was started by ex-Yahoo! staffers, developed a mobile app that recommends things like movies and restaurants based on data contained in social networks. This is the latest in a string of so-called acqui-hires by CEO Marissa Mayer in which Jybe's services will be rolled in to Yahoo's product line-up.
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