by Marc Bastow | September 20, 2012 4:58 pm
Thursday saw some hot stock movement on earnings and other news, but overall, a series of reports tamped down any enthusiasm from Wednesday’s market gains on the way to a mixed session.
To start the day, an HSBC report showed manufacturing in China contracted for the 11th straight month, while a European regional purchasing managers index fell to a 39-month low. Back home in the U.S. the Labor Department reported a decline in first-time unemployment benefits over last week’s number, but the number (382,000) was not enough to ease concerns over high unemployment that dogs the economic recovery.
The net result was predictably muted: The Dow Jones gained 0.14% to end at 13,597, the S&P 500 fell fractionally to 1,460 and the Nasdaq fell 0.21% to 3,175.
Real estate search site Trulia (NYSE:TRLA) went public today and promptly saw a 40% pop in the stock. Trulia is the second such search site to go public, with Zillow (NASDAQ:Z) having pulled off a similar success a year ago.
Food producer ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) also had a nice day, soaring 6% on strong top and bottom line numbers that beat Street estimates, an optimistic future outlook and an increase in its dividend.
Not so lucky on earnings was home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) also had a rough day after announcing lower profit margins and same-store sales in the second quarter. Profits came in just below expectations, and shares were down nearly 10% on the day.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) and J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) shares also were pounded on bad news Thursday.
JCP fell 10% after CEO Ron Johnson — who has been trying to turn the struggling clothing retailer around with a new image and merchandising strategy — gave investors at a Plano, Texas, presentation bad news about the company’s financial prospects for the latter half of the year. In short: Second verse, same as the first.
Meanwhile, GMCR was off over 8% as Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) launched its Verismo-branded family of single-serve coffees, together with a range of electric brewers. GMCR’s stock is down more than 35% over the last year. Starbucks shares advanced just over 2% on the news.
The railroad industry took a hit as Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) projected third-quarter earnings below analyst expectations, indicating declines would come from lower freight volumes and fuel surcharges. NSC dropped 9%, CSX (NYSE:CSX) fell nearly 5% and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) was down 4% on the news.
Finally, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) announced it will cut 16,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs … and not much else.
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.
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