Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose Thursday, bringing its winning streak to five straight sessions.
  • Ford Motor Co. (F)  declined 0.5% after the automaker said it would exit some of Europe's biggest markets and cut thousands of jobs as car sales around the world slumped.
  • Macy's Inc. (M)  fell 17.7% after the retailer revised its fiscal 2018 sales and earnings guidance down from guidance it provided in November.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks finished in the green Thursday, Jan. 10, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank would be "patient" with raising interest rates.

Powell, speaking Thursday at the Economic Club of Washington in Washington, D.C., echoed similar comments he made last week.

"We have the ability to be patient and watch patiently and carefully as we watch the economy evolve," Powell said Thursday during a conference at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C.

The central bank raised benchmark interest rates four times in 2018 and has signaled it may raise rates twice in 2019.

The chairman, however, did say he was "very worried" about the amount of U.S. debt.

"I'm very worried about it," Powell said. "From the Fed's standpoint, we're really looking at a business cycle length: That's our frame of reference. The long-run fiscal, non-sustainability of the U.S. federal government isn't really something that plays into the medium-term that is relevant for our policy decisions."

He said the amount of U.S. debt was a "long-run issue that we definitely need to face, and ultimately, will have no choice but to face."
 
Powell mentioned the Fed's ultimate goal of shrinking its balance sheet, but then explained his comments further.
 
"When he first made the comments, stocks pulled back, and as he kept talking and he explained himself, they moderated," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*Trade.

Earlier in Thursday's session investors were looking past past progress in U.S.-China trade talks and shifting their focus to the corporate earnings season and the prospect of weakening profit guidance for the coming year.

Retailers were getting paid particular attention Thursday following a guidance cut from Macy's Inc. (M) and after Kohl's Corp. (KSS) posted weaker same-store sales growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 121 points, or 0.51%, to 24,000, the S&P 500 rose 0.45%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.42%. Stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday after progress was reported in U.S.-China trade talks and following the dovish comments from the Fed.

Ford Motor Co. (F)  fell 0.46% after the automaker said it will exit some of Europe's biggest markets and cut thousands of jobs as car sales around the world slump and uncertainly surrounding Britain's Brexit plans stifle investment.

Ford said it will review its operations in Russia, combine its U.K. headquarters just outside of London and shut a transmission plant in France as part of a regional overhaul aimed at turning a profit at its European operations. Ford also said cuts to its workforce of 53,000 would follow, but hoped "as far as possible" they would come through voluntary action.

Macy's Inc. (M)  dropped 17.7% after the retailer revised its fiscal 2018 sales and earnings guidance down from the guidance it provided in November.

The company said it now expects comparable-store sales to increase 2% in the year, below its previous estimate of between 2.3% and 2.5%. Net sales are now expected to be flat year over year, down from the previous estimate of a 0.3% to 0.7% increase, Macy's said.

Earnings at Macy's are expected be between $3.95 and $4 a share, lower than its previous expectations of earnings between $4.10 and $4.30.

Jonathan Corpina, a trader on the floor of the NYSE, weighs in on the retail sector.

Kohl's Corp. (KSS) tumbled 4.8% despite lifting fiscal-year guidance after same-store sales for the November-to-December holiday period rose 1.2%, down from year-earlier growth of nearly 7%.

Target Corp. (TGT) posted stronger-than-expected holiday sales on Thursday and said it would see double-digit adjusted earnings growth in the fiscal year.

Target said same-store sales for the two months ended in December rose 5.7%, well ahead of the 3.4% pace recorded in the same period last year. Target said full fiscal-year earnings should come in between $5.30 and $5.50 a share, compared to a Wall Street consensus of $5.39, with fourth-quarter comparable revenue rising 5%.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) jumped 16.56% Thursday after the company said its fiscal 2019 earnings would be about the same as fiscal 2018 while Wall Street was expecting a much more bearish outlook.

Bed Bath & Beyond said it expects earnings in fiscal 2018 of roughly $2 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimated profit of $1.99 a share in fiscal 2018, and $1.56 in fiscal 2019.

Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL)  fell 4.1% Thursday after the company said it now expects fourth-quarter revenue to come in at the lower end of expectations.

The airline said in an investor update Thursday it now expects fourth-quarter revenue to rise 1.5% year over year, which is at the lower end of the 1.5% to 3.5% forecast. The company also lowered its earnings-per-share forecast for 2018.

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