The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Nation & World

April 11, 2013

Retailers lead stocks up; sagging sales hit tech

NEW YORK —  Rite Aid, Ross Stores and other retail stocks rose Thursday after turning in better sales, and major indexes edged up for a fourth day.

Technology stocks slumped following a drop in computer sales.

Stocks in retail stores were among those making the biggest gains. The discount chain Ross Stores jumped 7 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The company said that stronger sales in March will likely push profits above its previous estimate.

Makers of computer hardware and software fell sharply following a report late Wednesday that shipments of PCs dropped 14 percent worldwide in the first three months of this year compared with last year. That's the deepest quarterly drop since International Data Corp. started tracking the industry in 1994.

"The IDC report is much worse than anyone expected," said David Brown, director of Sabrient Systems, an investment research firm. "That's obviously shaking up the tech sector, but everything else is resuming the climb."

The three companies in the Dow that do business in PCs fell the most of the 30 stocks in the index. Hewlett-Packard dropped 6 percent, Microsoft fell 5 percent and Intel 2 percent. Without those declines, the Dow would be 28 points higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 55 points to 14,858 shortly after noon, a gain of 0.4 percent. It jumped 128 points the day before. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up six points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,593.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell less than one point to 3,297.

Of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500, information technology was the only one to fall. Consumer discretionary stocks, a group that includes department stores and other retailers, rose the most, 1 percent.

It was a different story on Wednesday, when technology stocks surged on optimism that businesses would step up spending. That pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 index to their third straight day of gains as well as record highs.

The stock market is on a stunning run this year, clearing record highs and recovering losses from the financial crisis and Great Recession. For the year, the Dow is up 13 percent, the S&P 500 index 12 percent.

Brown thinks the market can continue climbing. Measured against earnings, the stock market doesn't look expensive, he said. And compared to the alternatives, like bonds or money-market funds, stocks appear to offer a better reward.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week. Analysts said it's a possible sign that a slowdown in hiring last month may have been temporary.

Rite Aid soared 16 percent after the drugstore chain said higher sales of generic drugs and lower costs helped it post better earnings than analysts had expected. Stronger profits at Bed Bath & Beyond pushed its stock up 3 percent.

In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 1.78 percent from 1.80 percent late Wednesday.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold US journalist captive

    Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine admitted on Wednesday that they are holding an American journalist, saying he was suspected of unspecified "bad activities."

    April 23, 2014

  • Beautiful Bulldogs.jpg Lucey is tops in Iowa's 'Beautiful Bulldog' event

    Lucey is a slobbering 18-month-old pooch whose human family dreams of making her a therapy dog.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs

    Sherpa guides packed up their tents and left Mount Everest's base camp Wednesday in an unprecedented walkout to honor 16 of their colleagues who were killed last week in the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on the mountain, climbers said.

    April 23, 2014

  • FBI investigates suspected serial child molester

    The FBI asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

    April 22, 2014

  • Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Australia may use more powerful sonar equipment that can delve deeper beneath the Indian Ocean in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet as the prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site would not spell the end of the search.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

    During a recent game at Wrigley Field, John Weber was using a pencil and scorecard to expertly track the game between his hometown Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 86-year-old retired transit worker figures he is an increasingly rare kind of baseball fan.

    April 22, 2014

  • Comcast 1Q earns surge on upbeat NBC results

    Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income rose by 30 percent as ad revenue surged at broadcast network NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon's elevation as host of "The Tonight Show."

    April 22, 2014

  • General Motors seeks more protection from suits

     General Motors Co. has filed suit in a U.S. bankruptcy court asking a judge to protect the company from legal claims for actions that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

    April 22, 2014

  • Disney's 'It's a Small World' turns 50 The timeless Disney tune "It's a Small World" that wafts through our memories from past theme park vacations turns 50 this year.

    April 21, 2014