Stocks are heading lower as April chain store sales promise a shower of negative news, though not unexpected. European markets are lower and Japanese stocks closed down on the day. But the star of Asia, China's stock market continues to bubble higher, and the Financial Times says the value of the shares that traded Wednesday on China's Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges was greater than all of the rest of Asia combined.
Chain Store Downer
There are expectations that this could be the worst April for retailers in four years. Wal-Mart disappointed with a drop in same-store sales of 3.5%, well below the 1.1% decline expected. Its stock is already taking a bath. Costco, however, saw sales up 7%. The Thomson same-store sales index estimate was for a 0.4% rise in overall same store sales, compared to 6.5 % last year.
The market liked what it heard in the Fed comment yesterday, and the Dow scored yet another record. It gained 53.80. The Dow is now up 25 of the last 29 days, and is up 8.6% in those 29 days. The S&P rose 4.86 to 1512, ever closer to its record close of 1527. The Nasdaq was up 4.59 points, or 0.2% on the day.
"If it's not Goldilocks. it's as close as you can get ... the Fed is not going to cut rates unless the economy falls apart," says our Bob Pisani. "What you have out there is a tidal wave of liquidity for one; number two, M&A rumors like I haven't seen in years ... and number three, if you can't have an M&A rumor, then it's buyback stocks. It's M&A, buybacks and liquidity ... (with the May meeting over) the Fed is out of the way."
"Right now, we are watching for the S&P's historic high right now. We're close and the momentum is there," says Pisani.
This is Apple, No Google
Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman will be in an across-Silicon-Valley dash today as he covers the annual meetings of two of the closest watched tech stocks. "Google and Apple both hold their annual shareholders meetings simultaneously, and each will feature its fair share of fireworks; Apple over stock options investigations and Google over frustration about a high-flying stock that seems to have stalled," says Goldman. He will cover both on CNBC TV and also on CNBC.com.
News Corp's New York Post took an interesting about face. A week after doubling its news stand price to 50 cents, Post management reversed its decision and took the price back to 25 cents a copy. The Post says it was a business decision. You may remember New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg, joking earlier this week that News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch raised the price to get the funds he needs to buy Dow Jones.
Coincidentally, UBS yesterday gave Murdoch 40% odds on his run at Dow Jones, and today the firm adds News Corp. to its strategic selection list for valuation and growth, noting the Dow Jones bid reduces risk.
Around the World
Tony Blair is stepping down as Prime Minister of the U.K. on June 27.