Investors made up their minds Thursday, and the decision was emphatic: sell.
Bucking the notion that decent economic reports should boost the market, recent news instead gave investors pause over whether Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke would announce QE3 when he speaks Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Adding to the positive news on housing and the economy earlier this week, the Labor Department today reported that number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment totaled a better-than-expected 374,000 during the week ending Aug. 25, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure. At the same time, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said personal income and spending both increased in July, but spending came in lower than analysts had forecast.
The net result was 1.05% sell-off in the Nasdaq to 3,048, a Dow Jones fall of 0.81% to 13,000, and a loss in the S&P 500 of 0.78% to 1,399.
The biggest drag on both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 came from Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), which was down nearly 8% after announcing it no longer would be an S&P 500 member after the closing bell Sept. 4. Sears’ number of public shares in the hands of investors is well below the 50% threshold required for inclusion in the index. Sears will be replaced by LyondellBasell (NYSE:LYB), which manufactures chemicals and refines crude oil.
However, good news on personal spending carried forward as retailers including Costco (NASDAQ:COST) and Gap (NYSE:GPS) reported better-than-expected same-store sales. Both COST and GPS were up nearly 2% on the day.
Shares of Internet radio company Pandora (NYSE:P) rose 15% after announcing revenues rose 51% year-over-year, though its loss ballooned to $5.4 million from $1.8 million. The company also increase revenue guidance for the remainder of the year.
Going the other way on earnings was TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) whose shares dropped nearly 2.5% after announcing increased earnings but wider losses in the second quarter. The company has added 230,000 subscribers so far this year,and now claims 2.7 million total — up 41% over last year.
A slow week ahead of the long holiday weekend comes to a close tomorrow, and with no notable earnings announcements due, all eyes will be on Bernanke.
- Zale (NYSE:ZLC): Up 6.2% (27 cents) to $4.60.
- Nii Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD): Up 3.4% (20 cents) to $6.13.
- Lexmark (NYSE:LXK): Up 2.9% (62 cents) to $21.69.
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): Down 13.7% ($3.31) to $20.89.
- Vera Bradley (NYSE:VRA): Down 6.35% ($1.50) to $22.12.
- Seagate Technologies (NASDAQ:STX): Down 4.5% ($1.51) to $32.08.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.