The bulls once again gave it their best shot, but on Wednesday, they just couldn’t hold the sellers back. The S&P 500 ended the day at 2,362.98, down 0.23% from Tuesday’s last trade.
Here’s a closer look at what investors need to know.
Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO)
Wednesday was a miserable day for all energy stocks. Encana Corp (USA) (NYSE:ECA) was off by 6.5% and Devon Energy Corp (NYSE:DVN) was down 6.5%. It was Marathon Oil that took the biggest toll on the most people, however. MRO shares fell 8.7% on Wednesday.
It wasn’t Marathon’s fault. If any factor is to get the blame, it’s Wednesday morning’s job growth report from payroll processor ADP. Analysts were only looking for an additional 180,000 new jobs, but ADP reported a figure of 298,000. That was the best figure in over a year, suggesting this Friday’s official number from the Department of Labor could be similarly impressive.
The downside for MRO? That all but assures investors the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates a week from today, when it’s scheduled to make that decision. Since rates and the U.S. dollar move in tandem and a rising dollar is bad for oil, today’s strong advance of the market’s interest rates worked against oil — and MRO in particular — in a big way.
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD)
How does the old saying go? Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it? That’s wisdom drugstore chain Rite Aid and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) may end up wishing they had remembered before deciding to force the Federal Trade Commission to make a decision about the intended pairing of the two companies.
The matter has been up in the air for some time now, with an understaffed FTC review board opting to hold off on any decision … though it’s increasingly looked as if it’s not going to be permitted.
Walgreens can potentially force the Federal Trade Commission to make a decision though, saying — and certifying — it has complied with all the FTC’s application requirements. That, however, is risky in the sense that it could force an undecided commission into deciding “no.”
With today’s 6.8% setback from RAD, the stock is down 22% for the past week, as the effort looks more and more doomed.
Express, Inc. (EXPR)
Last but not least, retailer Express saw its stock fall 10.8% on Wednesday in response to a disappointing fourth-quarter report and a similarly disappointing first-quarter outlook.
For the quarter ending in January, Express earned 29 cents per share on sales of $678.8 million. The bottom line was actually in line with estimates, and revenue topped estimates of $675.889 million. But, same-store sales fell 13% in the fourth quarter. The quarter currently underway isn’t expected to be a good one either. The company anticipates earnings of between 65 and 73 cents per share of EXPR, but analysts were collectively calling for 87 cents per share.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.