TODAY’S INDEXES Dow industrials 16,919.59 + 80.85 S&P 500 1981.60 + 9.86 Nasdaq 4527.52 + 19.20
UPBEAT RETAILERS: Earnings reports from TJX, Home Depot and Dick’s Sporting Goods were a contrast to the disappointing results that several of their retail competitors posted last week. Home Depot shares rose 5.6 percent after the chain beat analysts’ estimates and raised its forecast for the rest of the year. TJX, parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s stores, jumped 8.6 percent after also reporting better-than-expected results. Dick’s gained 1.6 percent after beating second-quarter estimates, even though it said promotions and advertising costs would weigh down second-half profits.
NEAR A RECORD: The stock market seems to be recovering from its late summer swoon, having risen on six of the last eight trading days. After today’s 0.5 percent gain, the S&P 500 is within 7 points of the record it set July 24.
SINKING SCENTS: Despite the upbeat retail news noted above, not everything is flying off of stores’ shelves. Take the fragrances named for singers Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, for example. Elizabeth Arden blamed the celebrity scents for a quarterly loss that was much larger than expected, and the company’s shares cratered 23 percent.
MOBILE PRICE WAR: A new family cell-phone plan with double the amount of data may attract more customers to Sprint, but investors aren’t loving the competitive move. The mobile carrier’s shares dropped 4 percent.
POLISHED: Apple investors, optimistic about new versions of the iPhone and other products, they bid the shares up 1.4 percent to a record $100.53.
LOCAL INDEX: The Bloomberg St. Louis Index rose 0.3 percent, slightly less than the broader market.
STL STOCKS GAINERS LOSERS Build-A-Bear 4 pay day loans.4% Reliv International -4.1% Peabody Energy 2.8% Mallinckrodt -3.5% American Railcar 2.6% Allied Healthcare -2.8%
LOCAL GAINER: American Railcar Industries advanced 2.6 percent after a Canadian agency recommended that older tank cars be banned from carrying flammable liquids. The report by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, which was investigating last year’s fatal accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, may lead to increased demand for new rail cars.
ANALYST’S INSIGHTS: Barry Bannister, chief equity strategist at Stifel Nicolaus, illustrated a recent report with a picture of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Instead of famine, war, pestilence and death, his threatening figures are the Federal Reserve, war, recession and bear markets. Bannister is no doom-and-gloomer, though; in fact, he says the market is handling the horsemen quite well. He just increased his year-end forecast for the S&P 500 to 2,300, which implies a 16 percent gain in the next four months. He notes, as quoted by Bloomberg, that “the arrival of bullish stragglers often pushes stocks higher, albeit with greater volatility.”
THE DAY AHEAD: We’ll learn more about the retail climate from Lowe’s and Target, both of which report earnings in the morning. Hewlett Packard follows with results after the closing bell, and the minutes of a July Federal Reserve policy meeting may provide clues about the Fed’s interest-rate strategy.
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