Investors are looking for more news Thursday to continue a two-day “fiscal cliff” rally that has added nearly 500 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week. Economic data is in focus with the Labor Department reporting that initial jobless claims increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 for the week ended December 29, exceeding economist predictions of total claims of 360,000 for the week.
Retail sales were also in the scopes of traders with several large companies releasing their latest figures. A look at a few of the majors:
TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX) said the same-store-sales in December climbed by 6 percent to $3.6 billion, topping analyst predictions of 2.3 percent. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based apparel and home fashion retailer also said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 77 cents to 78 cents per share, also topping analyst predictions of 76 cents per share. TJX operates T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores as well as newly-acquired SierraTradingPost.com in the United States. Elsewhere, the company has Marshalls stores in Canada, T.K. Maxx and HomeSense stores in Europe. Shares of TJX are up 3.75 percent in morning trading.
Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) reported that December same-store-sales fell by 2.2 percent compared to December 2011. Front-end sales during December declined by 1 percent while total drugstore sales for the month dropped by 2.7 percent to $2.05 billion compared to $2.112 billion in the year prior month. On the year, same-store-sales increased 0.1 percent compared to the same 43-week period in 2011. Shares of RAD are down 1.43 percent in morning trading.
Target Corp. (TGT) disclosed December same-store-sales that were flat compared to the year prior month, missing analyst estimates of a 1.3 percent increase. Even with the sales miss for the month, the second-largest discount chain in the U.S. believes it will still meet or exceed the low end of its fourth quarter guidance. Shares of TGT have climbed 1.85 percent in morning trading.
Gap Inc. (GPS) announced today that December same-store sales increased by 5 percent to $2.08 billion compared to $1.98 billion in December 2011. Analysts were calling-for 3.5 percent growth during the month. Gap also said that is closed a deal on Monday where it spent $130 million to acquired Intermix Holdco Inc., a New York-based luxury women’s apparel retailer. Shares of GPS are ahead by 0.67 percent in morning trading.
Kohl’s Corp. (KSS), the U.S.’s third largest department store chain, reported December same-store-sales rose by 3.4 percent, topping Wall Street estimates of a 1.3 percent gain. However, the company slashed it fourth-quarter earnings estimate to as low as $1.62 per share for its previous top-end estimate of $2.08 per share. Shares of KSS are up by 0.44 percent in morning trading.
Limited Brands Inc. (LTD), the operator of its namesake stores and Victoria’s Secret, missed expectations of a 4.7 percent climb in same-store-sales in December; posting only a 3 percent increase. Shares of LTD sifted-off 5.34 percent in morning trading.
Macy’s Inc. (M), the U.S.’s second largest department store chain, recorded 4.1 percent growth to $4.92 billion in December same-store-sales compared to last year; modestly ahead of estimates of 4.0 percent growth. Meanwhile, Macy’s lowered its fourth quarter guidance by three cents to between $1.91 and $1.96 per share. Further, the company said that it plans to close six locations, comprised of a Bloomingdale’s Fashion Home Store in Las Vegas, Nevada and five other Macy’s location in various states. Shares of M are trading 0.47 percent lower this morning.