U.S. stocks are flat to down slightly as a slew of retailers delivered earnings on Thursday morning.
The S&P 500 is flat at 1,929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is flat at 16,486 and the Nasdaq is down by six points to 4,529. The S&P Retail ETF is up by 2 cents to $42.68.
Sear’s Holding Corp. stock is up over 1.5 percent to $17.23 even though the department store chain delivered a huge loss for the fourth quarter. For the three months ended Jan. 30, the loss was $580 million, or $5.44 a diluted share, compared with a loss of $159 million, or $1.50, a year ago. Included was a $180 million noncash accounting charge for the impairment of the Sears trade name. On an adjusted basis, the loss was $181 million, or $1.70 a diluted share, from a loss of $36 million, or 34 cents, last year. Revenues fell 9.9 percent to $7.3 billion from $8.1 billion. Comparable store sales fell 7.1 percent for the quarter, with Kmart down 7.2 percent and Sears declining 6.9 percent.
Chico’s FAS Inc. beat analysts’ estimates in earnings and sales for the fourth quarter, pushing the stock higher by 9 percent to $11.97. The specialty retailer reported diluted earnings per share of 5 cents, which was better than the FactSet estimate of zero earnings. The adjusted net income for the fourth quarter was $6.2 million, which was much lower than last year’s $10.9 million. Chico’s suffered from the warm winter as sweaters did not sell well, but the company said the jacket business was strong. The accessories business of small leather goods, belts and scarves is also performing well.
Kohl’s Corporation stock is tumbling over 1 percent to $44.69 after the retailer said it missed its earnings and sales estimates for the fourth quarter and that it would be closing 18 stores. The company tried to focus on the positive, but diluted earnings per share of $1.58 were far short of the FactSet estimate of $1.75 and lower than last year’s $1.83. Net income was $296 million, also lower than last year’s $369 million.
L Brands Inc. stock is dropping by 1 percent to $82.27 after the home to Victoria’s Secret used its mix of sexy and retail savvy to drive solid sales and profit gains last year, but came up a little light in its first-quarter projections. L Brands reported its earnings after the market close on Wednesday, but held its conference call on Thursday morning. The company’s fourth-quarter profits gained 12.6 percent to $636 million, or $2.15 a diluted share, from $564.8 million, or $1.89, a year earlier. Earnings came in 10 cents ahead of the $2.05 analysts projected. For the first quarter, L Brands is looking for earnings per share of 50 cents to 55 cents — shy of the 65 cents Wall Street had penciled in.
Elsewhere, Asian markets closed with Japan’s Nikkei up 1.4 percent, Hong Kong down 1.6 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite falling 6.4 percent as China Shipbuilding stock plunged 10 percent. European markets all moved higher as financial stocks gained.