Stock futures are rising this morning ahead of the bell, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index both up a little more than 0.4%. ADP data showed the economy created 198,000 jobs in February. Speaking on CNBC this morning, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi estimated that the sequester would mean the elimination of 500,000 jobs in the next 10 months.
Shares of Staples (SPLS) are off 4% after it said quarterly profit plunged due to a number of charges. On an adjusted basis, profit still came in below consensus estimates.
Staples, which realigned its reporting segments during the quarter, said its North American Stores and Online segment�which includes the company’s retail stores and Staples.com businesses in the U.S. and Canada�reported a same-store sales decline of 5% for the quarter, while sales rose 3.1%.
J.C. Penney‘s (JCP) stock is falling again today, down 1.4%. A report bythe Wall Street Journal’s Dana Mattioli suggests patience could be wearing thin at the retailer:
Members of Penney’s board will consider selling the company or replacing the chief executive if a deep drop in sales can’t be reversed this year, people familiar with the matter said.
The group includes activist hedge-fund manager William Ackman, who as Penney’s largest shareholder was instrumental in establishing Mr. Johnson as CEO.
The Journal also has a nice piece about what professional investors think of the market in the face of the now-historic rally:
Some money managers said they are starting to embrace the stock market’s gravity-defying rally, rather than keep looking worriedly in the rearview mirror at lingering consequences of the financial crisis…
Still, excitement about the feat was tempered by acute awareness of the Federal Reserve’s force in driving stocks higher through the central bank’s stimulus measures, which won’t last forever.
For now, though, corporate earnings and dividends are rising, the U.S. housing market has stabilized, the unemployment rate is gradually declining and bond yields are low. Those are all positives for stocks, many experts said, and good reasons to stick with the market.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) stock is down 8% after it said sales for the current quarter would come in lower than forecasts.
Rising premarket are shares of Mylan (MYL) and Hasbro (HAS), up 9% and 5%, respectively. We profiled Mylan CEO Heather Bresch in this week’s Barron’s.