Market Overview

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Markets Moving Sideways Ahead of Alcoa Report

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Markets Moving Sideways Ahead of Alcoa Report

Toward the end of trading Thursday, the Dow traded down 0.11 percent to 16,445.07 while the NASDAQ tumbled 0.30 percent to 4,152.12. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.07 percent to 1,836.23.

Top Headline
Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) reported a drop in its first quarter profit.

Family Dollar's quarterly profit declined to $78.0 million, or $0.68 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $80.3 million, or $0.69 per share. Its revenue climbed 3.2% to $2.50 billion from $2.42 billion. However, analysts were estimating earnings of $0.69 per share on revenue of $2.51 billion.

Family Dollar expects Q2 earnings range of $0.85 to $0.95 per share, versus analysts' estimates of $1.21 per share. It also lowered its FY14 earnings outlook to $3.25 to $3.55 per share versus its earlier forecast of $3.80 to $4.15 per share.

Equities Trading UP
Shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ICPT) got a boost, shooting up 282.85 percent to $276.21 after the company reported that the FLINT trial of obeticholic acid has been stopped early and the NASH primary endpoint has been met.

United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL) was up as well, gaining 7.34 percent to $44.03 after the company reported that it expected a fourth quarter PRASM growth of between 2.8 and 3.8 percent after the close Wednesday.

Macy's (NYSE: M) was also up, gaining 7.92 percent to $55.95 after the company announced its plans to lower 2,500 jobs and shut five Macy's stores. It also reported a 3.6% rise in its comparable sales in November and December. The retailer also issued upbeat outlook for 2014. BMO Capital upgraded the stock from Market Perform to Outperform and lifted the target price from $53 to $70.

Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) were down 11.84 percent to $20.56 after the company reported weak December sales and lowered its outlook.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) tumbled 12.27 percent to $69.91 after the company reported weaker-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings and lowered its guidance. Analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from Outperform to Neutral and lowered the target price from $85 to $78.

AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) was down as well, falling 6.12 percent to $7.44 after headlines crossed that Chinese steel output had declined, possibility hinting at a drop in demand.

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.25 percent to $92.10, while gold traded up 0.21 percent to $1,228.80.

Silver traded up 0.27percent Thursday to $19.59, while copper fell 1.38 percent to $3.29.

European shares were mostly lower today. The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.39 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index surged 0.20 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX tumbled 0.85 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 0.86 percent while U.K. shares dropped 0.55 percent.

U.S. initial jobless claims declined by 15,000 to 330,000 in the week ended January 4. However, economists were expecting claims to total 335,000 in the week.

Announced job cuts dropped 32% to 30,623, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported.

Supplies of natural gas dropped 157 billion cubic feet for the week ended January 3, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a decline of 148 billion cubic feet to 152 billion cubic feet.

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


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