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3 big things you missed in the markets Thursday: Powell, Macy's, Amazon's Whole Foods

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has gone from a villain in the eyes of stock market bulls to a friend, along the lines of notorious doves once atop the Fed, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen.

Powell strode to the stage at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and struck a series of dovish notes just days after doing the same during a sit-down interview. “We have the ability to be patient and watch patiently and carefully as we watch the economy evolve,” Powell said. The Fed chairman added that he doesn’t think a U.S. recession is in the cards this year and that the economy is on “solid” footing.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 all finished at the highs of the session amid Powell’s comments. Boeing and Caterpillar were the standout Dow performers on the session, rising 2.6% and 2%, respectively.

Boeing was boosted by a bullish Morgan Stanley upgrade calling for a 30% pop in the stock. Considering the aerospace giant is fresh off revealing a 20% dividend hike and a new $20 billion buyback program — among having a strong $417 billion worth of commercial plane backlog — the price target hike makes sense.

All in all, the market’s overall resilience on Thursday is notable as several prominent retailers reported mixed holiday sales results.

Here is what you missed in the world of finance on Thursday.

Retail bloodbath.

After a blistering start to the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers such as Macy’s and Kohl’s hinted strongly Thursday that sales weakened in mid-December and trailed off after Christmas. Sales appear tepid into January, too, despite the stock market’s rebound from the now infamous “Christmas Eve Massacre.”

Shares of Macy’s and Kohl’s dropped 17.6% and 4.8%, respectively, on the day.

The clear holiday winners were Target and Costco. Target’s holiday sales rose 5.6%, the retailer said on Thursday. Costco said same-store sales gained 6.1%. Costco shares rose slightly on the session. Target’s stock fell 3%.

The million dollar question after seeing these results: Has the U.S. consumer pulled back as a result of the stock market’s steep drop in December?

Amazon spying zombie Sears and Kmart stores?

Yahoo Finance’s Krystal Hu reports that Amazon is looking to open Whole Foods stores in former Sears and Kmart locations. Doing so could get Whole Foods into more rural locations on the cheap.

The idea shouldn’t come as a complete shock. As a stand-alone company in 2014, Whole Foods leased out 38,000 square feet of a Sears store in Florida’s Westfield Countryside Mall.

Plus: PE titan takes it to Trump.

Wall Street titan Glenn Hutchins talks with Yahoo Finance's editor-in-chief Andy Serwer.

Sharp words from a Wall Street titan to President Donald Trump in the debut episode of ‘Influencers’ hosted by Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief Andy Serwer.

“I think the economic policies of this administration have been irresponsible, to the point of dangerous,” said Glenn Hutchins, chairman of fintech investment firm North Island, co-founder of Silver Lake Partners and former special advisor to President Bill Clinton on economic and health care policy.

Influencers’ with Andy Serwer, which debuts today, airs each Thursday at 5 p.m.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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