Live From the NYSE; August 23rd, 2013 Weekly Stock Market Wrap Up

August 19th – August 23th, 2013


Welcome to Financial Buzz Market Weekly Wrap-Up at the New York Stock Exchange, bringing you a review of this week’s stock market.

We start off the week with a Labor Department report that said unemployment rates increased in 28 states. They were unchanged in 14 and fell in eight states—the fewest to show a decline since January. 

Slightly more encouraging was news that U.S. home resales rose in July to their highest level in over three years.  The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that existing home sales jumped 6.5% month over month and 17.2% year over year to an annual rate of 5.39 million units.  This marked the fastest pace of sales since November 2009.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week but held close to a six-year low.  Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 13,000 to 336,000.   That was slightly higher than expected, but it didn’t have any impact on the market because the four-week average, which smooths out week to week fluctuations, fell to 330,500. 

The Flash PMI or Purchasing Managers’ Index showed  gains for German and Chinese manufacturing, and helped stabilize the market when the NASDAQ exchange halted trading for 3 hours due to a technology glitch.

Sales of new single-family homes in America fell sharply in July down 13.4 percent to an annual rate of 394,000 units.  This was well below analysts’ expectations. 

Central bankers from around the world are holding their annual meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to discuss policy issues.  Even though Fed Chairmen Bernanke took the unusual step of not attending the meeting this time, the market is still closely watching the outcome for clues about future Fed actions.

Now for some individual stocks.  Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) released dismal quarterly results showing a 33% dip in profits, and earnings of only $11.4 million compared to year ago earnings of $17.1 million.  The only bright spot was its same-store sales in China were up 60%. 

Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) reported fiscal second quarter earnings of $611 million, down from $704 million  a year earlier.  The retailer said its Canadian business is dragging down the numbers, along with extremely cautious consumers.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) and Home Depot Inc.

(NYSE: HDboth reported solid quarters.  Lowe’s second quarter net income rose 26% while Home Depot’s second quarter net income rose almost 18%.  Home Depot said the recovery in the U.S. housing market was key in beating its profit and sales estimates.

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