The euphoria of a three-day market rally slowed Wednesday but did not falter as cautious optimism and subdued trading combined for essentially a flat finish on all major indices, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 did officially extend their gains to four straight days.
One notable exception to the malaise was Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), which lost a jaw-dropping $117 per share — which translates to 17%, still no small number — after it posted a decent earnings report Tuesday night, but indicated that expected growth will slow as Europeans, which make up a large part of Priceline’s business, put off travel.
Priceline’s warning — as well as disappointing earnings and guidance this morning by Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW), which shed 26% — sent shares of rival online travel sites down on the news, with TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) losing more than 5%, and Kayak (NASDAQ:KYAK) falling nearly 4%.
The woes in the travel sector hindered the Nasdaq, which fell marginally to 3,011. But the Dow finished ahead fractionally to 13,175, while the S&P managed to stay above the 1,400 mark, closing up just ahead at 1,402.
On a slow economic news day, Fiserv forecast that nationwide home prices will dip another 1% between March 2012 and March 2013. Meanwhile, Bureau of Labor statistics showed productivity increased 1.6% during the second quarter, while labor costs rose 1.7%.
Corporate earnings and other company reports drove individual prices during the course of the day.
Macy’s (NYSE:M) shares rose over 2% as the retailer topped earnings and revenue expectations. Macy’s also raised its earnings guidance for the year. Same-same store sales rose 3% while online increased 36% during the quarter.
Retailer Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) saw its shares slip just under 1% after a downbeat revenue forecast for Q3. However, second-quarter earnings beat Street forecasts, and revenue was in line with expectations.
Same-store sales hampered McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), as the fast-food Goliath announced sales in Europe declined. McDonald’s same-store sales came in flat and missed Street estimates by over 2%. The news sent MCD shares down 1.5% for the day, the Dow’s biggest loss for Wednesday.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) surprised investors by unexpectedly boosting its third-quarter forecast amid cost-cutting, and also announced a restructuring and $8 billion writedown. HPQ finished up more than 2%.
Thursday’s earnings releases include Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Arena Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:ARNA).
- Dean Foods (NYSE:DF): Up 39.6% ($4.92) to $17.34 (Read more here).
- Opnet Technologies (NASDAQ:OPNT): Up 9.6% ($2.69) to $30.68.
- Rackspace (NYSE:RAX): Up 8.4% ($4.15) to $53.45.
- Zillow (NASDAQ:Z): Down 9.45% ($3.95) to $37.81.
- Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI): Down 6.35% (47 cents) to $6.93.
- Fossil (NASDAQ:FOSL): Down 4.9% ($4.47) to $87.30 (Read more here).
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.