Stocks fluctuated on fears the Federal Reserve may speed the pullback in its bond-buying program after stronger than expected economic news. 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. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen offered a new, upbeat outlook on the economy. In an interview with Time Magazine, Yellen said she sees "stronger growth this year" and that the "first digit of [GDP growth] could be 3 instead of 2."
Macy's (M) shares soared nearly 8% after the retailer announced Wednesday that it will be cutting 2,500 jobs and closing five underperforming stores in the spring in order to cut costs. The 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) fell over 2% after the company reported earnings Thursday morning. The company reported profits of $0.68 per share, missing estimates by a penny. Revenue rose 3.2% to $2.5 billion, missing estimates of $2.51 billion. Family Dollar is up more than 17% since this time last year.
Costco (COST) shares rose nearly 4% 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.
And T-Mobile (TMUS) fell nearly 1% after 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.