Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Higher; Dollar General Sales Miss Street View
Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.10 percent to 16,356.00 while the NASDAQ gained 0.04 percent to 4,325.07. The S&P also rose, surging 0.04 percent to 1,868.94.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Thursday morning, the basic materials sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Kronos Worldwide (NYSE: KRO) and James Hardie Industries plc (NYSE: JHX). Shares of Kronos Worldwide jumped more than 8 percent after the company reported upbeat quarterly earnings.
In trading on Thursday, energy shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.25 percent. Top decliners in the sector included Ameresco (NASDAQ: AMRC), off 9.8 percent, and Quicksilver Resources (NYSE: KWK), down 4.6 percent.
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 18.74 percent to $16.46 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 15.88 percent to $7.88 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 8.22 percent to $63.82 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 17.14 percent to $29.34 after the company reported Q3 results. Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG) shares tumbled 7.05 percent to $67.99 after the company reported quarterly results. Delhaize Group posted a quarterly net profit of 101 million euro, versus a year-ago net loss of 169 million euro. Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO) was down, falling 3.75 percent to $22.99 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 down 0.13 percent to $97.86, while gold traded down 0.21 percent to $1,367.60.
Silver traded down 0.55 percent Thursday to $21.24, while copper fell 0.05 percent to $2.96.
European shares were lower today.
The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.06 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index gained 0.76 percent.
Meanwhile, the German DAX climbed 0.10 percent and the French CAC 40 declined 0.09 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.23 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.
The US Treasury monthly budget report for February will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills.
Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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