Stocks Mixed; Wal-Mart Tumbles, Burger King Jumps
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages were mixed Friday after the Dow turned positive in the final minutes of trading. Investors digested stronger-than-expected consumer sentiment and New York manufacturing data and awaited the results of the weekend G-20 meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 8 points, or 0.1%, to 13,982. The blue-chip index is up 4.9% from its 2013 closing low Jan. 8. The Dow closed off 0.1% for the week.
Wal-Mart shares dove 2.2% Friday as Bloomberg News reported an internal email from the company that said February sales have been "a total disaster."Gainers included Walt Disney (DIS), United Technologies (UTX) and Coca-Cola (KO). The S&P 500 dipped 1.6 points, or 0.1%, to 1,520. The index added 0.1% for this week. The Nasdaq was off 6.6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,192. The tech-heavy index shed 0.1% for the week. Most sectors across the broader market traded lower. The basic materials and energy sectors drifted down. Consumer-cyclical and consumer non-cyclical sectors led gainers. Volumes totaled 3.82 billion shares on the Big Board and reached 1.85 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Decliners overshadowed advancers incrementally on the New York Stock Exchange, and by a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. Adam Sarhan, founder and CEO of Sarhan Capital, said "the markets had a big run, and at this stage of the game we're simply pausing to digest that move, which is very healthy. The fact that we're not pulling back is a subtle, yet very important, signal of strength. ... If this market pulls back, it deserves a bullish benefit of the doubt." Sarhan said that the stock market looks very healthy both on the surface, looking at the major averages, and underneath, where there's been many "mini" industry or sector rotations. Sarhan explained that groups that were underperforming are now outperforming the broader market, while leading performers such as financials remain strong but are now stalling a bit. Sarhan also noted that the housing sector remains strong and the oil sector popped this week. Major U.S. stock averages ended little changed Thursday amid a number of high-profile corporate deals and better-than-expected jobs data. A number of U.S. economic data points were released Friday morning, most of them positive. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index showed a reading of 76.3 for February, which was stronger than the expected 73.5 and above the previous 73.8. Capital Economics said that consumer confidence likely improved on a mixture of better labor market headlines and the continued rally in stock markets. The New York Empire State manufacturing survey showed a reading of 10 for February, above expectations for a flat read and up from negative 7.8 in the prior month. The Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 0.1% in January after increasing by an upwardly revised 0.4% in December. Economists thought output would increase by 0.2% for last month. Capacity utilization fell to 79.1% from an upwardly revised 79.3%. Economists were predicting an increase to 78.9%. U.S. markets are closed Monday for Presidents Day. Finance ministers of the G-20 nations were meeting in Moscow Friday amid widespread concerns of rising risks of currency wars, with the Japanese yen's depreciation one of the areas of focus amid Japan's aggressive monetary policy. In the U.S., sequestration talks in Washington continued Thursday, with Senate Democrats proposing a $110 billion combination of spending cuts and tax increases to avoid automatic spending cuts that kick in at the beginning of March. However, Republicans objected to a rise in tax rates or other measures to generate more tax revenue. Gold for April delivery plummeted $26 to settle at $1,609.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures slipped $1.45 to close at $95.86 a barrel. The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 5/32 to raise the yield to 2.02%. The dollar was up 0.1%, according to the U.S. dollar index. In corporate news, V.F. Corp. (VFC) shares jumped 3.3% after the apparel company booked record full-year and quarterly profits, beating quarterly earnings per share estimates by 4 cents. LogMeIn ( LOGM ) shares plummeted 30% after the remote-access specialist provided a disappointing outlook in its fourth-quarter release Thursday. CBS (CBS) shares gained 4% as analysts indicated they were staying positive about the media company's prospects, despite its lower-than-expected quarterly results, as long as the advertising market remains favorable. The company said in its earnings release that it's accelerating the pace of CBS's share-repurchase program by another billion dollars. Campbell Soup (CPB) posted quarterly earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $2.33 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of 66 cents a share on revenue of $2.32 billion, with the help of solid results from its newly acquired Bolthouse Farms business. Shares rose 1.8%. George Soros revealed that he trimmed his position in technology names including Facebook (FB) and Amazon.com (AMZN). Facebook shares decreased 0.6% and Amazon dipped 1.5%. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) initiated a stake in Internet-infrastructure specialist Verisign (VRSN), according to the latest 13F regulatory filings. Verisign shares finished up 1%. Warren Buffett's holding company now owns 3,685,700 shares. Herbalife ( HLF ) shares added 1.2% as Carl Icahn revealed a 13% holding in the company. The intraday gain for the stock reached as much as 17%. Qlik Technologies (QLIK) shares surged 18% after the business-software maker reported stronger-than-anticipated quarterly results, thanks in part to license sales in the Americas. Burger King Worldwide (BKW) shares tacked on 4.7% after the hamburger chain's fourth-quarter results beat consensus estimates. The company said it's made "significant" progress in its "re-imaging" initiatives, and has added international franchise joint venture and development agreements and refranchised 871 restaurants. -- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.
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