by Alyssa Oursler | October 11, 2012 5:08 pm
Thursday kicked off with a little bit of good news on the employment front. While economists had been expecting an increase in jobless claims, first-time claims actually dropped 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 — the lowest since February 2008.
The markets jumped on the news early but the boost fizzled by day’s end. The S&P 500 was the only index that managed to break the week’s losing streak, eking out a measly 0.02% gain to 1,432.84. The Nasdaq fell 0.08% to end at 3,049.38, while the Dow followed its triple-digit Wednesday loss with a drop of 0.03% to 13,341.13. The major indices remain on pace for their biggest weekly drop in four months.
Grocer Safeway (NYSE:SWY) continued earnings season Thursday morning, with profits beating estimates but revenue falling slightly. Investors were unimpressed and sent shares down nearly 4% on the day. Winnebago Industrials (NYSE:WGO) shares also slipped marginally on news that it missed earnings estimates.
Discount retailer Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) also took a hit after announcing that its Q3 earnings should come in near the lower end of its forecast. Shares sunk around 8%.
The day wasn’t without its silver lining, though.
IPOs were a bright spot, for one, as a few stormed onto the market. Online photo marketplace Shutterstock (NYSE:SSTK) gained more than 27%, leading residential real-estate services company Realogy (NYSE:RLGY) climbed around 25%, and Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KYTH) — focusing on a drug to reduce double chins — gained around 22% in its debut. Including the 29% jump by Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ICPT), Thursday marked the first time in a dozen years that four public offerings each gained 20% on their first day of trading.
Sprint (NYSE:S) soared on the day, jumping 14% on the news that Japan’s Softbank is looking to make a substantial investment, or possibly an acquisition, of the company. The move could help the No. 3 telecom provider as it struggles to compete with AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
Coal stocks continued to climb on an analyst’s prediction of an uptick in Chinese demand. James River Coal (NASDAQ:JRCC), Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) and Arch Coal (NYSE:ANI) led the way with gains over 15%, while Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and Consol Energy (NYSE:CNX) were each in the black around 8%.
Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), which climbed around 8% Wednesday, also continued to surge thanks to its record number of pre-orders for the Nook HD. Shares gained another 8%, boosting its year-to-date gains into double digits.
Finally, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn offered to buy specialty vehicle maker Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK) for around $3 billion, sending shares upward to the tune of more than 11%. Icahn already is the company’s largest investor with a 9.5% stake.
Alyssa Oursler is an Editorial Assistant at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, she did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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