Stocks are trading to the downside as oil prices ticked lower and the ADP employment report came in better than expected.
In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 60 points to 16,805, the S&P 500 declined 5 points to 1,973 and the Nasdaq dropped 8 points to 4,681. The S&P Retail ETF slid 12 cents to $43.89.
The ADP National Employment Report showed an increase of 214,000 jobs versus the consensus of 190,000. Counterintuitively, this has investors worried that Friday’s jobs report from the government will also be strong, giving the Federal Reserve more confidence to continue raising interest rates.
Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The Englewood, Colo.-based sporting goods chain has identified 140 stores and 2 distribution centers that it plans to close or sell as part of its restructuring plans. Sports Authority currently operates more than 450 stores in 40 states and Puerto Rico and the inventory is processed through 5 regional distribution centers. The company said in the filing that it has access to $595 million in debtor in possession financing to help see it through this reorganization. Sports Authority never quite recovered from a $1.3 billion buyout in 2006 that took the company private.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s stock jumped up by 6 percent to $31.10 after the teen retailer beat estimates for its fourth quarter. The chain reported earnings per share of $1.08, which topped the FactSet estimate of 99 cents and delivered sales of $1.11 billion, better than the FactSet estimate of $1.1 billion. Comparable sales were down for Abercrombie by 2 percent, but up 4 percent for Hollister. The women’s business is doing better than the men’s business. Looking ahead, Abercrombie expects fiscal 2016 sales to be flat to slightly positive.
Ascena Retail Group Inc. stock fell by over 4 percent to $8.45 after reporting a net loss for its second quarter following the market close on Tuesday. The specialty retailer incurred a net loss for its second quarter ended Jan. 23, of $22.6 million compared to net income of $8.7 million last year. Sales of $1.84 billion missed the FactSet estimate of $1.88 billion. Ascena’s forecast for the earnings for the third quarter was in the range of 10 to 14 cents per share and that was shy of the FactSet estimate of 15 cents per share.
Ross Stores Inc. stock is rising by over 1 percent to $57.21 after delivering solid earnings following the close on Tuesday. Net income for the quarter rose 6 percent to $264 million, or 66 cents a diluted share, up from $248 million, or 60 cents, a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share totaled 66 cents and was 2 cents above the 64 cents estimated by FactSet. Sales for the three months ending Jan. 30 increased 7 percent to $3.25 billion from $3.03 billion a year earlier. This was slightly better than FactSet’s estimate for sales of $3.21 billion.
Xcel Brands Inc. said that it refinanced its senior debt with Bank Hapoalim B.M. The new credit facility refinances and consolidates roughly $27.9 million in senior debt. The interest rate is fixed at 5.1 percent and the secured debt is guaranteed by certain Xcel subsidiaries.
Elsewhere, Asian markets rallied following on Tuesday’s big gains in the U.S. However, at the same time Moody’s lowered its outlook on Chinese debt to negative from stable. The People’s Bank of China also set the yuan fix at its lowest level since last month. European markets are mixed with Germany up, while France is flat and the U.K. is lower.