Market Overview

Mid-Day Market Update: US Stocks Turn Red; Williams-Sonoma Shares Gain On Upbeat Results

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Midway through trading Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.62 percent to 16,238.55 while the NASDAQ tumbled 0.61 percent to 4,296.83. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.51 percent to 1,858.65.

Leading and Lagging Sectors
Thursday morning, the utilities sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from CPFL Energia SA (NYSE: CPL) and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP).

In trading on Thursday, energy shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.61 percent. Top decliners in the sector included Ameresco (NASDAQ: AMRC), off 17.5 percent, and Hugoton Royalty Trust (NYSE: HGT), down 4.1 percent.

Top Headline
Dollar General (NYSE: DG) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter sales. Dollar General's quarterly profit surged to $322.2 million, or $1.01 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $317.4 million, or $0.97 per share. Its net sales rose to $4.49 billion versus $4.21 billion, while same-store sales climbed 1.3%. However, analysts were estimating earnings of $1.01 per share on sales of $4.62 billion. For the first quarter, Dollar General projects earnings of $0.72 to $0.74 per share and total sales to increase 7% to 8%. It projects FY14 earnings of $3.45 to $3.55 per share and total sales to surged 8% to 9%.

Equities Trading UP
Scientific Games (NASDAQ: SGMS) shares shot up 18.98 percent to $16.49 following positive earnings report. Scientific Games posted a Q4 loss of $0.01 per share.

Shares of Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) got a boost, shooting up 12.94 percent to $7.68 after the company reported fourth-quarter results. Plug Power posted a quarterly loss of $0.08 per share, versus the estimated loss of $0.08 per share.

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) was also up, gaining 10.58 percent to $65.21 after the company reported upbeat fourth-quarter earnings and raised its quarterly dividend by 6.45% to $0.33 per share versus $0.31 per share.

Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Methode Electronics (NYSE: MEI) were down 12.31 percent to $31.05 after the company reported Q3 results.

Home Inns & Hotels Management (NASDAQ: HMIN) shares tumbled 10.39 percent to $31.73 after the company reported Q4 results. The company's quarterly revenue came in at 1.61 billion yuan, versus the projected 1.52 billion yuan.

Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO) was down, falling 6.24 percent to $22.39 after the company announced Q4 results. Gogo posted a quarterly loss of $0.26 per share, versus analysts' estimates of a loss of $0.27 per share.

In commodity news, oil traded up 0.16 percent to $98.15, while gold traded down 0.09 percent to $1,369.30.

Silver traded down 0.48 percent Thursday to $21.26, while copper fell 0.39 percent to $2.95.

European shares were lower today.

The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.56 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index declined 0.05 percent.

Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 0.86 percent and the French CAC 40 declined 0.69 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.68 percent.

US jobless claims declined 9,000 to 315,000 in the week ended March 8. However, economists were projecting claims to reach 330,000 in the week.

US retail sales increased 0.3% in February, versus economists' expectations for a 0.2% gain.

US import price index rose 0.90% in February, versus economists' expectations for a 0.30% gain.

US business inventories rose 0.40% in January, versus economists' expectations for a 0.40% gain.

Supplies of natural gas dropped 195 billion cubic feet for the week ended March 7, the US Energy Information Administration said. However, analysts were expecting a drop of 193 billion cubic feet to 197 billion cubic feet.

The US Treasury monthly budget report for February will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Earnings News Guidance Eurozone Futures Forex Global Econ #s


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