Wall Street is searching for direction following Wednesday’s brutal selloff. The S&P 500 rose briefly in early trading, but then went negative to 1,889, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 16,150 and the Nasdaq ticked down 11 points to 4,514.
Jobless claims were higher than expected with 7,000 more people claiming unemployment benefits. The Labor Department said 284,000 filed claims, which was more than the 275,000 estimated, but still below the important threshold of 300,000.
The outlook on Macy’s credit ratings outlook was revised to negative from stable by Fitch Ratings. The negative outlook reflected a projected 10 percent decline in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2015 and a lack of visibility on sales. Fitch also doesn’t believe the department store chain can keep up its stock share buy-back program. The rating agency expects annual free cash flow to be in the range of $500 million to $700 million, which is significantly lower than the previous range of $1 billion to $1.3 billion. The stock is down 12 cents to $38.56.
Burberry shares inched up 0.5 percent to 1,117 pence, or $16.13 at current exchange, in London trading after the luxury brand said its Asian sales rose by a midsingle digit percentage as Chinese sales bounced back in the fiscal third quarter. Revenue fell to 603 million pounds, or roughly $869 million in currency exchange rates, which was lower than analyst estimates of 603 million pounds. Burberry is very dependent on the Chinese customer, who accounts for 38 percent of its sales. The stock was lately trading at 1,122 pounds or $1,619 at current exchage.
Asian markets were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei down 2.7 percent and the Hong Kong Hang Seng closed down 0.6 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite ended the day higher by 2 percent, although most of the day there was heavy stock selling so it clear the government stepped in to prop up the market.
The Europeans did not enjoy such protection and all the major indices traded sharply lower. The German DAX was falling by 2.3 percent, the French CAC was sliding by 2.3 percent and the U.K. FTSE was down by 1.4 percent.