Today's secret word: retailing.
Actually, it's not so secret. The retailing world is all over the news.
Credit Suisse First Boston
started coverage of the retailing sector and cited two companies as strong buys:
Federated Department Stores
. Both stocks were up this morning. Two other retailers were named as buys --
May Department Stores
, and they also were moving higher.
The rest of the list only made it to the hold level, among them
The firm didn't return a phone call seeking further details.
In addition, today is a big day for retail earnings reports. Wal-Mart earned 48 cents a share in its fourth quarter, compared with a
consensus estimate of 47 cents a share and the year-earlier's 41 cents.
said it earned $1.58 a share on an operating basis, below the consensus forecast of $1.61, but the stock was still up. The year-ago figure was 70 cents a share. And
earned 52 cents a share, above the consensus forecast figure of 49 cents and ahead of the year-earlier's 39 cents. Its stock jumped ahead.
Outside of the retailing world,
Aluminum Co. of America
continued its European expansion by agreeing to acquire the main units of Spanish aluminum maker
. Terms weren't disclosed. Alcoa's stock was off on the news.
Meanwhile, the stock market was trending downward in quiet action.
By Erle Norton