Stocks ended the day down slightly, perhaps in part thanks to weekly jobless claims released by the Labor Department. The number spiked to 360,000, up 32,000 from the prior week. Separately, the Labor Department says consumer prices fell again in April, this time by a seasonally adjusted .4%. Meanwhile the Commerce Department says housing starts slide by 16.5% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000.
Wal-Mart (WMT) drifted almos 2% lower on a disappointing earnings report released before the opening bell. The retail king missed estimates for the quarter posting profits of $1.14 a share when consensus was for $1.15. Revenue was a whopping $114.2-billion, but $2-billion short of estimates. Wal-Mart also lowered its guidance for the quarter ahead. The company has been dealing with complaints that its store shelves are empty because there aren't enough workers to restock them. Wal-Mart is also testing new ways to fight increasing competition from online sellers like Amazon.
Kohl's (KSS) closed almost 5% higher after posting surprising profits ahead of the opening bell. The Wisconsin-based department store chain says it earned 66-cents a share when consensus was for 57-cents. However, those profits are down from a year ago and the company missed on revenues. Kohl's credits its earnings beat to improved gross margins and expense management. But the company says same-store sales fell 1.9% from the same period last year.
Cisco Systems (CSCO) finished the day more than 12% higher on its Q1 earnings report which came out after yesterday's closing bell. The company says profits were up 14% over last year, to 51-cents a share on more than $12.2-billion in revenue. The company credits growth in its newer businesses like software and services. It says they offset weakness in more traditional networking equipment. Prior to today's gains Cisco was up just 4% since the start of 2013.
Google (GOOG) ended their day down slightly but still above the $900 mark that it shattered yesterday. A research note from Morgan Stanley that estimates YouTube could be worth $20-billion by 2020 didn't manage to move the stock higher. Shares climbed to more than 3% to $915 yesterday on a series of headlines coming out of Googles developers conference which included the announcement of an overhauled Google maps program. Company CEO Larry Page also spoke to the crowd a day after revealing he had a rare condition that has paralyzed his vocal cords.