Stock market news today, August 21, 2014: Dow Jones futures were up 40 points (0.24%) this morning (Thursday). S&P futures gained 3.75 points (0.19%) and Nasdaq futures were also up 5.25 points (0.13%).
Yesterday saw the release of minutes from the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting in July. The minutes revealed that the U.S. Federal Reserve was impressed by job market's resilience, but still decided to wait on its decision of when it will raise interest rates.
Here are the top eight stories in the stock market today:
- Death of Retail: Shares of Sears Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) were down more than 7% in premarket hours this morning after the company announced its ninth-consecutive quarterly loss. SHLD - which runs both Kmart Stores and Sears locations - lost $573 million, or $5.39 per share, steeply outpacing its $194 million loss (or $1.83 per share) it reported in the same period of 2013. The company also reported a 10% revenue decline, but said that it saw 18% growth in its online and multichannel sales units. We put Sears Holding Corp. on "Death Watch" back in May - you can get that full story here...
- Bad Day for Miners: It could be a tough day for the mining sector in the markets today. Shares of Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO) were down in premarket hours on news that factory data in China struck a three-month low. The HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped from July's 18-month high of 51.7 to 50.3 in August. The data raises concerns that commodity demand in the world's second largest economy could be slipping. Investors will want to also keep an eye on BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE: BHP) and Anglo American plc (ADR) (OTC: AAUKY) this morning. The companies saw their shares on the London Stock Exchange slip earlier in the day.
- Oil Continues Its Slide: Oil futures slipped lower this morning. In New York, where West Texas Intermediate is priced on the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for October delivery fell -0.68%, dropping to nearly $93 per barrel. In London, where global Brent Crude is priced, October Brent slipped 0.80% to $101.46 a barrel.
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- Tablet Wars: Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) will attempt to recover from yesterday's 1.56% loss. This morning, it announced the launch of its first new reading tablet in two years. In an effort to compete in the crowded e-book sales market, the company partnered with Samsung to replace its Nook tablets. The new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will sell for $179, and offers an array of additional features including a camera.
- Pay Up: The U.S. Justice Department announced that Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) will pay roughly $17 billion to settle a federal investigation into its role in the financial crisis through the sale of faulty mortgage-backed securities. The deal will see the bank pay approximately $10 billion in cash and offer $7 billion in consumer relief. The deal dwarfs last year's settlement by Citigroup (NYSE: C) of $7 billion, and beats the $13 billion settlement of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). Our Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani encouraged readers not to believe the headlines - in this story he explained how "big banks are still screwing you"...
- Bad Beat: Shares of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) slipped 1% during yesterday's trading session and another 0.9% after hours following the company's earnings release. The company said its personal computer division saw 12% growth, but sliding growth in its other divisions failed to boost confidence for the long term. Overall, sales increased by 1% to $27.6 billion; however, profits slipped to $1 billion for the quarter, a decline from last year's $1.4 billion profit in the third quarter. The company reported $0.52 per share, missing its own estimates of $0.59 to $0.63 per share. HPQ cited costs of layoffs and acquisitions as reasons for the decline.
- Today's Economic Calendar: Today's schedule features weekly jobless claims, an update on existing home sales, the PMI Manufacturing Index, a report on the status of the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet, and insight on the U.S. money supply.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO), Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE), Cyberonics Inc. (Nasdaq: CYBX), Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR), Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GAP), GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), and Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Survey at 10 a.m.
- Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Yr FRN Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 7-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Yr TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m
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