Stocks book 5 straight days of gains, exit correction territory

Stocks spent Thursday in a tug-of-war between discouraging company news and encouraging statements from the Federal Reserve chairman. Initially, downbeat company reports held sway; but by the market’s close, stocks had booked their fifth straight day of gains.

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Significantly, the string of daily market gains resulted in two major equity averages exiting correction territory.

Early Thursday department store shares tumbled after Macy’s turned in disappointing same-store sales during the critical holiday shopping season.

Macy’s reported a paltry 1.1 percent gain in same-store sales and online sales during the November-December period.

Kohl’s shares also tumbled as the company turned in a paltry rise in same-store sales during the critical holiday shopping season.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MMACY'S INC.10.85-0.15-1.36%
KSSKOHL'S CORP.33.50+0.05+0.15%

Meanwhile, airline shares dropped after American Airlines cut its guidance for earnings per share in the current fiscal year. That hit shares of rival carriers like JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.

But later Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said low inflation gives the U.S. central bank the ability to be patient in raising its benchmark short-term interest rate.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BABOEING COMPANY216.50-1.11-0.51%
CATCATERPILLAR INC.175.08+0.45+0.26%

Prospects that the Fed may not raise rates twice this year, as has been expected, heartened equity investors and offset the effect of department store and airline struggles.

Investor sentiment was also buoyed by optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal. Trade-sensitive shares like Boeing, Caterpillar and Intel led gainers.

By the closing bell, stocks were trading at session highs, had booked a fifth straight day of gains and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 exited correction territory.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES29910.37+37.90+0.13%
SP500S&P 5003638.35+8.70+0.24%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX12205.846315+111.44+0.92%

In Asian markets on Thursday, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.4 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained for a fifth day, adding 0.2 percent.


Japan’s Nikkei ended the day down 1.3 percent.

Checking European trading, London’s FTSE was lower by 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX was down 0.4 percent and France’s CAC fell 0.8 percent.

FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.