The major indexes halted a sharp two-day, postelection slide with modest gains: The Dow rose by four points, the Nasdaq gained nine, and the S&P 500 advanced two. Eighteen of the Dow’s 30 components gained ground, led by Boeing (BA), which rose 3%. Volume was light. Declining issues narrowly outpaced advancers on the NYSE, while advancing issues edged out decliners by a nose on the Nasdaq. The prices of Treasuries strengthened, while the price of gold futures gained 0.2% to $1,730.90 an ounce. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 1.1% to $86.07 a barrel.
For the week, the Dow lost 2.1%, the Nasdaq lost 2.5%, and the S&P 500 declined by 2.4%.
In Earnings News:
- J.C. Penney announced its quarterly losses narrowed from 67 cents a share a year ago to 56 cents a share in the latest quarter. But revenue fell by 26.6% as the big retailer’s turnaround strategy of abandoning dramatic sales discounts and moving to “everyday low prices” appears to be struggling. The results were well below Wall Street’s expectations of a loss of about 7 cents a share, and the price of the stock (JCP) fell 4% in today’s session.
- The price of Groupon shares (GRPN) fell 29% in today’s session after the online deal company reported on Thursday evening that quarterly revenue grew by 32% rather than the 45% that Wall Street was anticipating.
In Other Business News:
- Consumer morale has strengthened to its highest level in five years, according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. The closely watched index has moved from 82.6 at the end of October to 84.9 in its latest reading. A spokesman said today: “More consumers expected good rather than bad times financially in the economy in early November, not only for the year ahead but over the next five years as well.”
- China’s government announced that factory output increased by 9.6% in October compared with the same month a year ago, while in September output increased by 9.2%. The gain, although modest, indicates that China’s economy may be picking up momentum after almost two years of slowing down. Retail sales also picked up from a growth rate of 14.2% in September to 14.5% in October.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Chrysler will recall more than 919,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs to repair or replace airbags that may fail while the vehicles are in motion. The recall applies to 2002-2004 model years for Grand Cherokees and 2002-2003 Liberty SUVs.
Every now and then something will happen to me and I’ll think: “Hey, not so fast! That’s just not right!” But then I go on with my day and soon I forget my indignation. That’s when I admire people who “push back.” So, here are some examples of pushback from a folder I’ve titled “I’m not going to take that lying down.”
- The villagers of Middleborough, Massachusetts, recently voted to impose a $20 fine on people using profanity in public. Nice idea, but are they going to post a list of the words I can use and the words I can’t use? (Uh oh, not another vocabulary quiz!)
- A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 69% of the citizens of New Jersey want the right to smile for their driver’s license photo. (If they can think of something to smile about at the Motor Vehicle Commission, well heck, I’d just say: “Cheese!”)
- The sheriff of Palm Beach County in Florida is refusing to supply the inmates of the county jail with dental floss in spite of four lawsuits challenging his ban. “I don’t care if they file 400 lawsuits,” says the sheriff. “This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton.” (Hey, I never got free floss at the Ritz. I’m not going to take this lying down.)
- A court in Surrey, England, ruled in favor of a man who billed a telemarketing company for the time he spent fielding the company’s sales calls. The award was $314.57. (Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?)
- An employee at a Subway restaurant in Braidwood, Illinois, recently foiled an armed robbery by throwing a pot of hot soup at the bad guy. Mmm, mmm, good! (If that happened where I live, I’d be wondering if the employee intended to foil the robbery or was just throwing the soup out and accidentally hit a mugger.)
- The town of Belmont, Massachusetts, just adopted a plan to control the local coyote population by forming a team of volunteers to harass the critters. (Cool, show them Road Runner movies.)
Have a great weekend (and always count to 10 before you push back).