Stocks are moving higher after the weekly initial jobless claims came in lower than expected.
The S&P 500 is higher by 6 points to 1,996, the Dow Jones Industrial average is up by 39 points to 17,039 and the Nasdaq is gaining 21 points to trade near 4,697. The S&P Retail ETF is higher by 28 cents to $45.11.
Jobless claims fell to a five-month low with 259,000 filing claims versus the forecast of 275,000. The job market looks strong, as claims have now been under the threshold of 300,000 for a year, which is the longest run since the early Seventies.
Tailored Brands Inc. reported its earnings following the market close on Wednesday. For the three months ended Jan. 30, the company formerly known as The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. posted a net loss of $1.1 billion, or $21.86 a diluted share, compared with a net loss of $35.9 million, or 75 cents, in the same year-ago period. The struggles at Jos. A. Bank have led to executive turnover. It was announced on Thursday morning that Paul Fitzpatrick has left the company and will be replaced by Mary Beth Blake, the corporation’s chief merchandising officer. The stock has popped by over 9 percent to $17.93 on the news.
Too many markdowns caused Stein Mart Inc. to miss its earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and pushing the stock down by 15 percent to $6.82 in morning trading. Net income for the quarter was $6.3 million, or 13 cents a diluted share, a far cry from last year’s $12.3 million, or 27 cents, a year ago. Sales for the three months ending Jan. 30 increased 1.8 percent to $394.1 million from $386.9 million a year earlier. Gross profit for the fourth quarter was $105.8 million or 26.8 percent of sales compared to $113.6 million or 29.4 percent of sales for the same time last year.
Christopher & Banks Corporation stock is popping by 14 percent to $2.16 after the retailer entered into a support agreement with Macellum Capital Management. The agreement will nominate four new independent director candidates to stand for election to the board of directors. The size of the board will decline from 9 to 7. Macellum owns 8.4 percent of the outstanding shares.
J.C. Penney stock is moving higher by 8 cents to $11.59 after the chief executive officer disclosed he had purchased 50,000 shares of stock. Marvin Ellison now owns 2.5 million shares of Penney’s stock. OnTuesday, Miller Tabek analysts initiated coverage with a buy rating.
Elsewhere, the European Central Bank lowered its three key interest rates. ECB President Mario Draghi said he does not see the need for more cuts. Europe’s major indices were moving higher across the board.
In Asia, the Chinese Shanghai Composite fell by 2 percent after an economic report found inflation was rising.