U.S. stocks managed to end the day in positive territory as oil inexplicably moved higher.
The S&P 500 closed up by 9 points to 1,868, the Dow Jones Industrial average added 115 points to close at 15,882 and the Nasdaq ended the day up 0.37 points to 4,472. The S&P Retail ETF closed up 1 percent to $39.69.
Even though oil inventory numbers rose, the price of oil jumped up to $29 a barrel. In case there was any doubt about the ripple effect of plunging oil prices, Schlumberger just said it was cutting 10,000 jobs.
Europe closed up as the European Central Bank left rates unchanged. The French CAC closed up 2 percent to 4,206, the German DAX ended up 1.9 percent to 9,574 and the U.K. FTSE closed up 1.8 percent to 5,774. The day started with the Asian markets closing down.
Tiffany said the board authorized a new stock repurchase program of up to $500 million. The jeweler suffered through a challenging holiday season as tourists quit shopping. The stock hit a 52-week low on Wednesday following the report of the low holiday sales and word that the chain will cut jobs. On Thursday morning, Anne-Charlotte Windal an analyst at Bernstein, slashed her price target on the company from $101 to $83, but maintained the outperform rating. Tiffany’s stock fell more than 1 percent to $61.05, but rose momentarily in post-market trading.
Avon stock jumped more than 7 percent to $2.62 after the cosmetics company revealed that it expects to cut costs by $350 million over the next three years. Cerberus Capital, which plans to buy 16.6 percent of the company, said Avon has no liquidity concerns and is significantly undervalued. The hedge fund also said its operating plan for Avon included job cuts.
Dick’s Sporting Goods stock jumped more than 3 percent to $37.22 following Wednesday’s announcement that Sports Authority had missed an interest payment. That sparked the idea that if Sports Authority is in such bad shape, then the chain would probably close stores. Sam Poser, analyst with Sterne Agee, said his checks indicate that Sports Authority is planning on closing up to 200 of its 450 stores. Once those stores are closed, any Dicks in the immediate area could see rapid acceleration of same store sales.
American Apparel stock doesn’t trade anymore, but the story continues as the company’s drama plays out in bankruptcy court. On Thursday, ousted founder Dov Charney testified in what was described as an animated appearance on the stand. Charney accused former partners of stealing the company from him and said he wanted to get the company back. The board rejected that bid last week. The judge was reported to have asked Charney several times to stop “free associating” while on the stand.