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Stocks gained slightly Friday as retailers and tech sectors gained strength and traders shrugged off a tepid jobs report to keep the major indices above key benchmarks reached earlier this week. Kraft rose, while JPMorgan fell.
Things are nowhere near as bad as some investors are making them out to be.
Fears that winter weather would result in disappointing retail sales may have been overblown, as several retailers have not only reported better-than-expected monthly sales reports, they are also raising fourth-quarter earnings estimates.
It's not just jobs that may be impacted by the bad weather...imagine what this is doing to retail sales. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) numbers declined 1 percent in the last week of January; this follows a 1.2 percent decline the previous week.
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"DRJ" on Tuesday said someone is making a very bearish call on this prominent retail name.
The market seems to be saying that it is not sure where the growth will come from this year. December was fair, not great; now we are going up against tougher comps, and stocks are more expensive.
Alcoa has confirmed that the problem with stocks may be more about valuation than about fundamentals. CLSA put it simply after reviewing Alcoa's strong earnings: "We reiterate our Sell rating as we do not see upside from these levels."
A steady decline in layoffs is giving the vast majority of adults who have jobs the confidence to spend more freely and help energize the economy.
This is a great time for investors to hunt for good value plays, said Bill Smead, CEO and CIO of Smead Capital Management, and Harvey Neiman, portfolio manager of Neiman Large Cap Value Fund.
Despite those strong sales gains, why aren’t their stocks moving much to the upside?
Improving expectations for the economy also will change investor perspectives, likely sending them to companies that do better as the outlook improves.
Despite reporting some of the strongest sales gains in four years, retailers largely fell short of Wall Street's estimates as a still-cautious consumer spent their money carefully, and a Northeast blizzard stole from post-Christmas sales.
Heading into Thursday's batch of retail sales reports, expectations are high that retailers will report their strongest sales in four years. However, as BJ's Wholesale's report showed Wednesday, there are sure to be some misses here and there.
A new report from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which estimates sales across all payment forms, shows strong sales growth in December for apparel and high-end items, including jewelry. Online sales were also very strong, perhaps helped by wet weather in West and a post-Christmas blizzard in the Northeast.
Stocks closed mixed amid thin holiday trading after a couple lackluster economic reports on housing and consumer confidence. Chevron and HP rose, while American Express fell.
Stocks declined modestly amid thin holiday trading and after a couple lackluster economic reports as the Northeast recovered from a huge snowstorm. Caterpillar and Disney fell, while Bank of America rose.
After a rough 2009 that saw the demise of several stores, jewelry merchants have emerged as the shining star of the retail sector this holiday, with chains from tony Tiffany to mass-market Sterling Jewelers posting robust sales gains.
Though this is traditionally a slow week, there are several underlying trends to the market.