Nordstrom bucks lower department store sales trends

Nordstrom bucked the trend of lower sales in department stores. The retailer reported better-than-expected results, but the real standout was strong comparable store sales up 3.9 percent, better even than the strong 3.3 percent rate in the second quarter. The off-price and online businesses continue to grow.

Restaurant firm Cosi reported earnings below expectations, blaming the miss in part on higher food costs, particularly in poultry and dairy products. I have noted a long list of food suppliers and restaurants that have pointed to higher costs last quarter, including Pinnacle Foods, Dean Foods, El Pollo Loco, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wendy's, Sysco, Texas Roadhouse, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Papa John's, Noodles & Co., and Chipotle.

Read More Retail sales up 0.3% in October, versus expectations for 0.2% gain


1) There are several IPOs today on the Nasdaq, including one that was postponed.

U.S. airline Virgin America priced 13.3 million shares at $23, toward the high end of the $21 to $24 talk. This is a well-known company with strong brand loyalty with a strong "cool factor." The company is known for comfortable seats, onboard WiFi, TV, and its loyalty program. The last airline that went public was Spirit in May 2011.

Valuation is at a discount: price to this year's earnings is 10.5 times earnings compared to peers at 13 times.

Read MoreVirgin America IPO priced at $23/share: Underwriter

There have been plenty of biotech debuts this year, but Fibrogen, which overnight priced 8.1 million shares—more than expected—at $18 a share, toward the high end of the $16 to $19 range, would be the second largest biotech of the year. They provide oral therapy to solve anemia and fibrosis.

Finally, the first Chinese IPO since Alibaba has been postponed. EHi Car Services, the No. 1 car rental service company in China, was supposed to price its IPO overnight and ring the opening bell. In a filing, the company noted that there have been some allegations that it has misrepresented the size of its fleet.

2) Notice that the high yield ETFs all dropped yesterday, including the iShares iBoxx and SPDR Barclays High Yield. That's because a significant part of high yield is in shale plays. That's how they finance a good part of the drilling—with high yield debt.

Energy is the largest component of the high yield market, representing 16 percent of the market value, according to Deutsche Bank.

Read MoreOil set to fall further in 'new chapter' for markets: IEA

In a note, Deutsche Bank said that if oil dropped to $60 a barrel it would likely push 30 percent of the energy high yield sector into default.

"A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY [high yield] market default cycle, if materialized," they said.

  • Bob Pisani

    A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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