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Wal-Mart cuts earnings outlook; Stated income loans coming back; Initial jobless claims rise

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The number of people who applied for first-time jobless claims rose more than expected last week. The Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the highest level since late June. Economists had expected 295,000 claims to be filed last week. The four-week average rose by 2,000 to 295,750.

Wal-Mart (WMT) posted earnings in-line with estimates while revenue beat estimates by about $1.1 billion. However, store traffic in the U.S. fell 1.1%, it's seventh quarterly decline. Same-store sales in the U.S. were flat, coming off of five straight quarters of declines. Wal-Mart also cut its full-year earnings outlook. Some good news for Wal-Mart is that e-commerce sales were up 24% from last year. The company announced last week that it plans to give shoppers a more customized experience on its website.

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Stated income loans are making a comeback. These are loans where the borrower can't provide tax returns or pay stubs, but shows bank or brokerage statements to show they can repay the loan. Lenders say the criteria for these loans are tighter than they were before the housing bubble.

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