The big stories this morning are that Singapore decided to surprise markets with an easing of monetary policy and the International Energy Agency said that oil markets will balance out by the end of the year.
The move pushed the value of the dollar higher and also lifted the price of oil back up to $42 a barrel. The IEA basically suggested that year-end is when U.S. energy production would finally drop enough to make a difference – read, crash. More bad news for energy patch-dependent retailers.
The S&P 500 is lower by 3 points to 2,078, the Nasdaq is dropping by 14 points to 4,931 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down by 12 points to 17,896. The S&P Retail ETF fell 43 cents to $44.84.
In economic news, the March consumer price index gained 0.1 percent, while apparel prices fell 1.1 percent versus February. The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims decreased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000 for the week ending April 9. This is the longest stretch of a healthy labor market since 1973.
A profit warning from Burberry Group has made investors of Tiffany & Co. Inc. and Michael Kors Holdings Limited nervous and both stocks are trading to the downside. Tiffany stock has lost 17 percent of its value over the past year, but lately had turned a corner and had risen almost 2 percent in the past four weeks. It was down 40 cents in early trading to sell at $71.40. Kors stocks has also struggled over the past year, losing 16 percent of its value, but over the last three months has begun a turnaround and moved from the mid $30 range to the low $50 level. It was off by 20 cents to trade at $52.95 in the early session.
Kate Spade & Co. was added to the Focus List at Citigroup. The stock is up almost 3 percent to trade at $25.54. In addition to Citigroup, Buckingham Rsearch initiated coverage with a buy rating and a $31 price target. The analyst said that revenue is expected to grow at a double-digit pace and free cash flow is seen as gaining by 10 percent.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. revealed leadership changes on Thursday morning. Ivan Fernandez is retiring from his position as president of Europe, Middle East and Asia. Peter Jueptner will assume that role. Stephane de la Faverie has been appointed global brand president. Nancy Mahon was appointed senior vice president of global corporate citizenship and sustainability. Maria Noguera was appointed senior vice president of global public affairs. The stock is down by 35 cents to $94.17.
Looking ahead, Cherokee Inc. will report its earnings after the market close today. The FactSet estimate is for earnings per share of 13 cents and sales of $7.37 million.
Elsewhere in the world, Asian markets all closed higher as a result of the race to debase currency values continues. European markets were all trading to the upside as the Bank of England said it wasn’t making any changes in interest rates.