Wall Street bounced between gains and losses after shares of big-name retailers came under pressure following weak 3Q results from Macy's.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 56 points, or 0.32% to 17701. The S&P 500 declined 6 points, or 0.33% to 2074, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 16 points, or 0.32% to 5067.
The energy sector declined the most on the session, while utilities was the biggest gainer.
Retailers weighed on the Dow on Wednesday as big-name companies including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Nike (NYSE:NKE) were among the top decliners on the index.
The move came on the back of weaker-than-expected earnings from Macy’s (NYSE:M).
The department-store chain’s shares plunged after the retailer reported mixed third-quarter results and a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter outlook. The company revealed adjusted earnings per share of 56 cents, topping 54-cent expectations, but revenue of $5.87 billion was short of forecasts for $6.09 billion. Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said he was disappointed in the pace of growth during the reporting period, which was hit by a slowdown in spending from U.S. customers in key apparel and accessory categories. He said the focus now is on ramping up holiday-shopping season efforts, and continuing its omnichannel push as it continues to effort off-prices stores in the New York City area.
Corporate news was on the minds of U.S. investors Wednesday morning after Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) made its deal with SABMiller official. The world’s biggest brewer agreed to buy its smaller rival for $105.5 billion. In an effort to make the deal more palatable for regulators, SABMiller will sell its 58% stake in its U.S. MillerCoors joint venture with brewer Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP), for $12 billion.
Alastair McCaig, IG market analyst, said the announcement is likely to trigger a “merry-go-round” of asset stripping and reorganization to convince regulators to greenlight the deal.
“Considering the strength of the U.S. dollar, especially as speculation over interest-rate rises intensifies, could well see this being the first of many cross-Atlantic shopping trips from U.S. firms,” McCaig said in a note.
Staying in the retail space, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) said the value of merchandise sold on the nation’s Singles Day online shopping event – similar to Cyber Monday in the U.S. – brought in more than last year’s $9.3 billion total. The company’s sales have been closely watched by market participants as they’re seen as a gauge of consumer sentiment in the midst of an economic slowdown in the nation.
China data, meanwhile, showed industrial production grew at the slowest pace in seven months in October, though retail sales for the month saw a bigger increase thanks to strong consumer sentiment.
Meanwhile, there was no data set for release in the U.S. while the bond markets were closed in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.
But investors will be ready to gear up for a busy day on Thursday with weekly jobless claims set for release in addition to a raft of Federal Reserve speakers including Fed Chief Janet Yellen, and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer.
The commodities market was mixed as global crude oil prices were mixed. On Tuesday, inventory data showed a 6.3 million barrel build in U.S. stockpiles. U.S. crude prices were down 3.42% to $42.70 a barrel, while Brent, the international benchmark, dropped 3.67% to $45.70 a barrel.
Metals were lower as gold slid 0.40% to $1,084 a troy ounce. Silver declined 0.60% to $14.27 an ounce, while copper shed 0.07% to $2.22 a pound.
Overseas, European markets were higher thanks to action in the M&A space. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks large-cap companies in the eurozone, rose 0.67%, while the German Dax gained 0.70%, the French CAC 40 added 0.82%, and the UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.35%.