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Stocks Sink in Afternoon Trading; JCP Soars Despite Quarterly Miss

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks closed lower today thanks to a volatile afternoon of trading. After a morning pop above 16,000 the Dow fell far and fast in the last 90 minutes of the session, closing down 66 points and the rest of the indices followed suit.

Among today's economic data releases were a report from the Commerce Department showing retail sales unexpectedly climbed .4% in October when they were expected to be unchanged. Separately, the Labor Department says the consumer price index dipped .1% It was also expected to be unchanged. A third report from the National Association of Realtors showed sales of existing homes down 3.2% during October.

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J.C. Penney (JCP) jumped more than 8% today despite the bruising earnings miss they reported this morning. Losses were $1.81 a share, even wider than the predicted loss of $1.72 a share. Revenues were also slightly below the consensus, coming in at $2.78-billion versus $2.80-billion. Traders seem encouraged by progress in the company's attempted turnaround. CEO Mike Ullman reiterated that he expects the chain to have growth in same-store sales for the current quarter. JC Penney previously reported that same-store sales rose in October.

Home improvement chain Lowe's (LOW) fell more than 6% on an earnings miss. The company made 47-cents a share for the quarter, a penny below expectations. Revenues did however top the consensus at $12.957-billion versus $12.723-billion. The company also issued a disappointing outlook. By contrast its larger competitor Home Depot beat earnings estimates yesterday and increased its outlook.

Deere & Co. (DE) climbed today on record earnings. The equipment maker posted profits of $2.11 for the quarter, far surpassing estimates of $1.89. Revenues also darted past estimates at more than $9.4-billion dollars. The consensus had been for $8.68-billion. The company also came out with an upbeat forecast for 2014 citing a rebound in construction.

Staples (SPLS) moved lower on an earnings disappointment. The office superstore had earnings of 21-cents, just half of what was expected. Revenues also missed, but not by nearly as much, coming in at $6.11-billion versus $6.18-billion. Staples remains the nation's largest office-supply store, but faces increased competition now that OfficeMax and Office Depot have completed their merger. It is also under pressure from online sellers like Amazon.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) was no slouch today surging 9% on its earnings which came out after yesterday's closing bell. The company topped estimates by 7-cents a share with profits totaling 31-cents a share. Revenues were also higher than the consensus at $366.4-million versus $349.4-million. Even prior to today's climb, La-Z-Boy had seen its shares rise almost 63% since the beginning of the year.

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