U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 36 mins

Stocks Retreat Further from All-Time Highs on Concerns over Syria

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks furthered their retreat today from this year's all-time highs. All the major indexes fell, with the Dow losing 170 points, finishing near the session lows of the day. The drop stemmed from concerns about Syria and the possibility of a U.S. intervention in the conflict. According to some reports, missile strikes could start as soon as Thursday. There were also ongoing worries today about a new projection of the federal debt. The Treasury Department now says the country is on course to bump up against the debt ceiling again in October.

Poll: Winging It! Will McDonald's New Chicken Offering Help Bottom Line?

Tiffany (TIF) jumped in the minutes after reporting earnings, but then lost some of its sparkle. Shares rose more than 2.5% in the premarket, however, the stock reversed and ended up down 1% for the day. The company says it made 83-cents a share versus estimates of 74-cents a share. Revenue, on the other hand, missed the mark at $925.9-million when consensus was for $941-million. Tiffany says its profits were helped by unexpectedly strong sales in China where it had feared a slowdown. The company is now increasing its outlook for the rest of the year. Shares are up more than 40% this year.

DSW (DSW) jumped nearly 8% on the release this morning of its earnings. The shoe retailer earned 97-cents a share excluding items when estimates were for 80-cents a share. Revenue also beating forecasts coming in at $562-million versus a consensus of $559.69-million. The company says expense controls and effective inventory management helped with the beat.

Meanwhile, Brown Shoe Company (BWS) fell almost 9% today on its earnings. Brown Shoe beat on both the top and bottom lines with earnings of 33-cents a share excluding items. That was 11-cents above expectations. Revenue also beat at $621.7-million, versus estimates of $596.73-million. The problem: the company is lowering its revenue forecast for 2014. Brown Shoe is the parent of several retail chains including Famous Footwear.

Both Facebook (FB) and Best Buy (BBY) fell on news of massive share dumps. In the case of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg unloaded more than 176,000 shares on August 22nd. The price per share: $38.52 each, or $6.8-million dollars. The stock almost hit $42 for the first time yesterday in intraday trading. But today the stock fell below $40. As for Best Buy, it dropped 2.2% on word that founder Richard Schulze is looking to reduce his stakes in the electronics giant. Schulze currently owns 70-million shares, which is about 21% of the company, and he will begin selling shares in October. The stock is up 203% so far in 2013 and hit a new 52-week high yesterday.

Sotheby's (BID) gave back nearly all gains today which it made yesterday on the news that activist investor Daniel Loeb has taken an interest in the company. Shares initially climbed 3% as word spread of Loeb's 5.7% stake in the auction house. Loeb has already said he intends to engage in a dialogue with the board. In recent months, he has been pressuring Sony to split itself into two separate companies.