Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell Thursday for a fourth straight session even after the European Central Bank said it would keep interest rates at near-record lows until at least the end of the year, effectively insuring the Federal Reserve won't tighten anytime soon.
  • Kroger (KR - Get Report)  posted weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Thursday and 2019 guidance disappointed investors, sending shares sharply lower. 
  • Burlington Stores (BURL - Get Report) posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.83 a share, beating Wall Street forecasts of $2.77, but same-store sales came in below estimates. Shares tumbled 11.90%.
     

Wall Street Overview

Stocks closed down Thursday, March 7, with the three main U.S. stock indexes tumbling for a fourth straight day as investors reacted to the European Central Bank's pledge to keep rates at near-record lows until at least the end of the year.

The move by the ECB effectively ensures that the Federal Reserve won't be able to tighten its own policy in the near term. The ECB also said it would launch a new lending program for the region's commercial banks, known as targeted longer-term refinancing operations, or TLTROs, which will start in September and last for at least two years.

"It's not about what the ECB is doing," said Mike Loewengart, chief investment officer for E*TRADE Capital Management in New York, "it's what they said about their expectations for growth and, really, it's the about-face from what they said a couple of months ago when they discussed ending their version of quantitative easing. So that's what's really going on. People are resetting their growth expectations and investors are responding accordingly."

Loewengart said the ECB had announced that it was ending its stimulus "because they felt they were getting to a pretty good place from a growth perspective."

"That's not what we heard this morning," he said. "We heard the opposite. And that's why markets are down."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200 points, or 0.78%, to 25,473, the S&P 500 was down 0.81%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.13%. 

Stocks have struggled this week as investors have sought catalysts to drive the action as they await developments in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

The Federal Communications Commission announced shortly before the market close that it had received additional information from T-Mobile US (TMUS - Get Report) and Sprint (S - Get Report) related to the proposed $26 billion merger of the two companies and was stopping the 180-day informal clock for comments. Interested parties must now file comments no later than March 28. Shares of Sprint closed up about 1% to $6.30, while T-Mobile closed up slightly to $71.32.

Urban Outfitters (URBN - Get Report) reported fourth quarter earnings of 83 cents per share, up from just one penny over the same period last year and 4 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group sales, the company said, rose 3.7% to $1.129 billion, essentially matching analysts' estimates of $1.13 billion. Shares were down 2.31% to $29.62.

Kroger (KR - Get Report)  posted weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and 2019 guidance that disappointed investors, sending shares down 9.95% on Thursday.

The grocer said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in January were 48 cents a share, 4 cents shy of the Wall Street consensus forecast. Sales fell 11% to $28.1 billion and also fell short of consensus forecasts.
 
Looking into 2019, Kroger said it sees full-year earnings in the range of $2.15 to $2.25 per share, lower than the $2.26 estimate from Refinitiv. 

Burlington Stores (BURL - Get Report)  posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.83 a share, beating Wall Street forecasts of $2.77, but same-store sales came in below estimates. Shares tumbled 11.90% to $147.28.

American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but said it expects first-quarter profit below Wall Street's forecasts. Shares were down 0.4% to $21.24.
 
Barnes & Noble ( BKS - Get Report)  slumped after posting  flat sales during the holiday season and warning that its full-year earnings will be weaker than previously estimated. The stock was down 12.65%.
 
H&R Block ( HRB - Get Report)  announced a fiscal third-quarter earnings miss and reiterated full-year guidance. Revenue declined 4.1% from the prior-year period of $488 due to less people using its assisted tax preparation, the company said. Shares rose 2.68% to $24.16.
 
Costco Wholesale ( COST)  reported second quarter earnings of  $2.01 per share, up nearly 72% from the same period and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of$1.69 per share. Total group revenues, Costco said, rose 7.3% to $34.63 billion but missed analysts' estimates of $35.65 billion.
 
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