Wall Street got off to a quiet start, but Alibaba Group, for one, was crowing.
The stock rose 50 cents to trade at $77.82 after declaring that it has topped Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and become the largest retailer as measured by annual gross merchandise volume. The company hasn’t announced its financial results for the past quarter, but it is clear that it must’ve gone past the $482.1 billion in revenues that Wal-Mart logged during its past fiscal year.
Alibaba is counting the value of the goods sold through its platform instead of its own revenues. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm said that: “Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced on April 5, 2016 that as of March 31, the end of its fiscal year 2016, it has become the largest retail economy in the world as measured by annual gross merchandise volume on its China retail marketplaces. PricewaterhouseCoopers has performed agreed-upon procedures on data relevant to Alibaba Group’s GMV.”
In general, investors seem to be treading water this morning as they wait for the minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting with the hopes of getting a hint on the direction of interest rates. The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. today.
The S&P 500 is moving down two points to 2,044, the Dow Jones Industrial average is down 35 points to 17,566 and the Nasdaq is up 10 points at 4,853. The S&P Retail ETF is higher by 4 cents to $45.06.
Hennes & Mauritz’s stock is higher after the Swedish fashion company reported its first quarter sales grew to $43.7 billion Swedish kronor, or $5.4 billion at today’s exchange rate, from 40.3 kronor. Ceo Karl-Johan Persson said that profits dropped due to a strong dollar. On a positive note, the company said the strength of the dollar has started to wane and its impact should turn neutral to slightly positive by the fourth quarter. H&M stock is higher by 4 percent to 276.70 Swedisk kronor or $33.95.
The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. said it will be expanding its furniture and mattress categories into 24 additional stores by midyear. That will bring the amount of stores with the furniture offering up to 62. The company said it will also offer white glove service for the furniture delivery that includes unpacking and desired placement of the furniture in the customers’ home. Bon-Ton stock is down by 3 cents to $2.10.
Amazon is expanding free same-day delivery services for its Prime members to 11 more cities. The new cities include Cincinnati, Nashville, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Fresno, Louisville, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Stockton and Tucson. Members that place an order over $35 in the morning can get delivery by bedtime seven days a week. The most popular same-day delivery items ordered so far are the Kindle Fire and the Fitbit fitness band. No doubt retailers in those cities are not thrilled with this development. Amazon stock is up by 0.8 percent to $591.
Elsewhere, European markets were mixed with France’s CAC higher by 0.3 percent and the U.K. FTSE higher by 0.6 percent. The German DAX was lower by 0.3 percent. Asian markets also delivered a mixed day with China and Japan trading lower, while Hong Kong added 0.2 percent.