Generally disappointing retail sales and a weak Service ISM number offset a number of central banks lowering rates as well as a better-than-expected weekly jobless claims number. At the end of the day, stocks ended mixed, with the Nasdaq barely squeaking out a gain. Overall, the market is holding tough, albeit on a very slow holiday-shortened week.
The Chinese IT Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by iSoftStone Holdings (ISS) with a 13% gain. The Norway Stocks and ADRs Index was the day's worst performing tickerspy Index, with Tomra Systems (Pink Sheets: TMRAY) down -5%.
Stocks finished mixed on the day, with the Dow falling -47 points to 12,897. The S&P lost -6 points to 1,368, while the Nasdaq closed up fractionally to 2,976. Oil fell -44 cents to $87.22 a barrel, while gold slipped -$12.40 to $1,609.40 an ounce.
In economic news, the ADP National Employment Report showed private employers added 176,000 new jobs last month. Initial claims for jobless benefits, meanwhile, fell by -14,000 to 374,000 last week while the less volatile four-week moving average declined to -1,500 to 385,750. The Labor Department delivers the June employment report on Friday before U.S. markets open. Elsewhere, The Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index dropped to 52.1 in June from 53.7 in May. Economists had expected a June reading of 53.0.
In other news, Walgreen (WAG) said it plans to buy privately held Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings for $438 million. The company operates the USA Drug, Super D, and May's drugstores in the Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. The deal is expected to close in early September. Walgreen also said its June same-store sales sank -10.0%, worse than the -8.2% decrease analysts expected. Shares of Walgreen rose 0.9%.
Costco (COST) said its June same-store sales rose 3.0%, but that missed the 3.7% increase analysts expected. Excluding gas prices and foreign currency transactions, Costco's same-store sales rose 5.0%. Shares of Costco fell -0.4%. Sixty pros held Costco in their portfolios at the end of Q1 and nearly 920 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Limited Brands (LTD), the owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, jumped 4.5% after the company said its June same-store sales jumped 7%. That easily topped the 2.4% increase analysts expected. Victoria's Secret led the way, with comparable-store sales climbing 11%. Limited reported sales of $1.077 billion last month compared to $1.08 billion a year earlier.
Netflix (NFLX) shares soared 13.4% after CEO Reed Hastings said subscribers viewed 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies in June. The last time Netflix reported such data -- in the fourth quarter of 2011-- the rate was 2 billion hours for the quarter. Hastings made the comments in a post on Facebook. Twelve pros counted Netflix among their top holdings at the end of Q1 and more than 1,140 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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