Wall Street is hitting the pause button following two straight days of gains. All three major averages (^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC) are slightly lower across the board, as investors play it close to the vest ahead of tomorrow’s government jobs report and continue to monitor moves in oil prices (CLJ16.NYM) .
On the economic front, the number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week. The Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits increased 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 278,000.
Herbalife (HLF) shares took a big hit in early trading. The dietary supplement maker admits to major discrepancies in its reporting of active new members in its 2015 earnings releases. In some cases, the reports noted increases that were 30 to 40 percentage points higher than the actual numbers. The company blames what it calls “database scripting errors” for the errant figures, but says they don’t impact previously reported financial results.
Costco (COST) delivered weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue for its fiscal second quarter. Profit fell nearly 9% from a year ago on higher costs and the stronger dollar, but same-store sales rose following three straight quarters of declines.
Kroger (KR) is reporting earnings per share that topped analysts’ estimates for the fourth quarter, but revenue came in a tad below forecasts, even though sales rose nearly 4% from a year earlier.
Tumi Holdings (TUMI) hit a 52-week high in early trading. The Wall Street Journal reported Samsonite is close to a deal to buy the rival luxury luggage maker. The deal could be announced as soon as this week and values Tumi at about $2 billion.
Target’s major changes
Some big changes coming to Target (TGT). The second-largest U.S. discount retailer will invest $2 to $2.5 billion next year to upgrade its online site and streamline its supply chain.
House flipping jumps
Cable TV is awash with reality shows such as “Flip or Flop” on which investors buy homes then renovate them, often for big profits. Well, apparently flipping is getting even hotter. New data from home research firm RealtyTrac finds 5.5% of single-family home and condo sales last year were flips. That’s up from 5.3% in 2014, and the first annual increase in four years.
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- unemployment benefits