December Consumer Prices came in in line with expectations, up 0.3%. The core rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices was up 0.1%. Jobless claims for the week of January 11 declined to 326,000 from the previous week's revised 328,000.
The big loser of the morning was Best Buy (BBY). The stock was absolutely hammered in early trading, down as much as 30%. The electronics retailer reported total holiday same-store sales dropped 0.8% from the previous year, while analysts were expecting an increase of 0.5%. Total revenue declined to $11.45 billion in the holiday period from $11.75 billion from a year earlier. The company also lowered its fourth-quarter guidance.
Another retailer facing tough times: J.C. Penney (JCP). The company announced it will close 33 stores and lay off 2,000 employees in a move it hopes will save $65 million. Shares of J.C. Penney were under pressure Thursday morning. The stock is already down 60-percent in the last year.
The much-anticipated financial earnings came in mixed. Goldman Sachs (GS) and BlackRock (BLK) beat estimates, while Citigroup (C) missed. More big names will report later today, including American Express (AXP), Capital One (COF), and Intel (INTC).