The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 330,000, according to the Labor Department. The number of initial claims came in below analysts’ expectations of 335,000 and indicated continued improvement in the job market ahead of tomorrow’s unemployment report for December. Stock futures remained positive after the report as markets looked for direction following yesterday’s mixed session. And stocks may find reason to cheer in some upbeat words from new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Yellen told Time Magazine she sees "stronger growth this year" and that the "first digit of [GDP growth] could be 3 instead of 2." That bright outlook comes on the heels of the Fed minutes released yesterday. Those minutes reveal Fed officials vigorously debated whether to begin tapering and are watching the threat of financial bubbles heading into 2014.
POLL: Will the market in 2014 follow the January Indicator?
Historically, the month of January can be an indicator of how the stock market will perform for the entire year, a phenonemon known as "The January Indicator". In our poll today, let us know, do you think the market this year will follow the January indicator? You’ll find the question on the right hand side of the Hot Stock Minute page and post your comments below as well.
Dish Network (DISH) reportedly is dropping its $2.2 billion bid for the bankrupt telecom company. According to the Wall Street Journal, LightSquared's lenders claim Dish is in breach of contract by dropping the bid. LightSquared, for its part, opposes the Dish deal, preferring its own $4 billion reorganization plan. LightSquared reportedly has wireless spectrum Dish has been coveting.
BlackRock (BLK), the world's largest asset manager, is dropping its analyst survey program, as part of a deal with the New York Attorney General's office. BlackRock agreed to pay $400,000 for the cost of the Attorney General’s investigation into the program, but no fines or penalties. The Attorney General's office found the program gave BlackRock access to "non-public analyst sentiment that could be used to trade ahead of the market reaction to upcoming analyst reports."
There were some big movers in early trading. Macy's (M) shares soared in the pre-market, up about 7%. The retailer announced late yesterday that it will be cutting 2,500 jobs and closing five underperforming stores in the spring in order to cut costs. These moves are expected to save the company about $100 million a year. Macy's also reported same-stores sales for November and December rose 3.6%. The company raised its profit forecast for the year to $4.40 to $4.50 per share, well above analyst expectations. Macy's also received good news from BMO Capital which upgraded the retailer's stock to Outperform from Market Perform. Macy's shares are up more than 41% since this time last year.
Family Dollar Stores (FDO), sold off after the company reported earnings Thursday morning. The stock was down more than 7% in early trading. The company reported profits of $0.68 per share, missing estimates by a penny. Revenue rose 3.2% to $2.50 billion, missing estimates of $2.51 billion. Family Dollar is up more than 17% since this time last year.
Costco (COST) shares were up about 2% in early trading after the retail giant reported December same-store sales rose 3%, beating analyst estimates of a rise of 1.8%. The company also reported net sales for December rose 6% to $11.53 billion. Costco shares are up nearly 13% over the past 12 months.
Another stock to watch, T-Mobile (TMUS). The company announced the latest phase of its "Un-carrier" plan to lure customers away from rival carriers with credits of up to $650 per person. The company also announced it added 1.6 million new subscribers in the last three months of 2013. The stock is up about 70% in the last year.