Stocks managed to break a five-day losing streak as Wall Street waits on Washington to broker a budget deal. Traders also had several economic numbers to guide them today. The third and final estimate of Q2 GDP showed the economy growing at annual rate of 2.5%. That was slightly below expectations, but matched the prior estimate for the period. Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims fell by another 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000. That puts the four-week moving average at 308,000, which is its lowest level since June 2007.
J.C. Penney (JCP) closed higher by more than 2% after falling 12% in early morning trading. The culmination of the turnaround occurred seconds after a report on CNBC. CEO Mike Ullman is denying a Reuters report that Penney was looking to raise as much as $1 billion in new equity to get through the holiday season. Ullman says at this point there is simply no need to raise cash. Prior to today, J.C. Penney shares were down 49% year-to-date giving the company a market cap of about $2.6 billion.
Facebook (FB) over 1.5% to close above $50 a share. It was just last month that shares surpassed their IPO price of $38. Since then the stock has gotten a number of analyst upgrades based on its success with mobile advertising. Earlier this week Citigroup upgraded the stock to buy form neutral and raised its price target to $55 from $32.
Hertz (HTZ) stock drove off a cliff today, down more than 16%. Shares plummeted when the company lowered its full-year guidance. Hertz is citing weak volume for its namesake brand at U.S. airports. It now projects adjusted earnings between $1.68 and $1.78 a share, down from a prior estimate of $1.78 to $1.88 a share. The revenue forecast has also been revised down $50 million to between $10.8 billion and $10.9 billion. The company also owns Dollar Thrifty, but Hertz's domestic airport operations are the bulk of its business.
Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) rose 4% following the release of its quarterly earnings yesterday. The company nudged past estimates on both the top and bottom lines making $1.16 a share on $2.82 billion in revenues. The numbers represent an 11% increase in profits over last year, and same-store sales were up nearly 4%. Prior to the report, the stock was up 32% year-to-date.
Caesars Entertainment (CZR) dropped more than 5%, adding to losses of 7% yesterday. The two-day drop follows the company's announcement that it will hold a secondary offering of 10 million shares. The move comes at a time when Caesars has been reporting quarterly losses, plus a drop in traffic at its casinos. Still the stock has experienced quite a run-up until now, climbing 182% year-to-date.
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