US Stocks: Thursday's review
The major market averages finished the day mixed as the Nasdaq saw a gain of 0.2% while the Dow and S&P 500 lost 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.
Education stocks were among the best performers after the Department of Education issued a favorable gainful employment ruling. The final rules published last night give the for-profit education companies more time to comply with the changes than the initial ruling had proposed. Corinthian Colleges (COCO 5.06, +1.07), Strayer Education (STRA 144.95, +23.08) and Apollo Group (APOL 46.90, +4.71) saw some of the biggest gains as a result of the announcement.
Financials reversed early losses, finishing the day higher by 0.2%. Goldman Sachs (GS 134.38, -1.79) was among the worst performers in the S&P 500 Financial Index, falling on reports that a Manhattan prosecutor served the company a subpoena. Heavyweights Bank of America (BAC 11.30, +0.06), Citigroup (C 40.01, +0.36), and Wells Fargo (WFC 27.16, +0.22) saw early losses after Moody's announced the companies were placed on review for a possible downgrade due to government support returning to pre-crisis levels. Those losses were erased as the session wore on, and all three ended the day in positive territory.
Industrials were among the top performing sectors today, buoyed by a strong second quarter earnings report from Joy Global (JOYG 90.51, +4.63). The company announced earnings of $1.52 per share, topping the Thomson Reuters consensus by $0.17, and reported an 18.6% increase in revenues to $1.06 billion. The company said it expects full year 2011 earnings per share of $5.30-$5.60, up from its previous estimate of $5.10-$5.40. Peer John Deere (DE 84.23, +1.47) piggybacked gains, ending up 1.8%.
Retail stocks lagged today after May Same Store Sales were generally disappointing. Saks (SKS 11.21, +0.15) was a notable outperformer, with sales climbing 20.2% versus the consensus estimate of an 8.2% rise. The reports on the whole were generally weaker-than-expected with Gap (GPS 18.12, -0.78), Kohl's (KSS 51.39, -1.53), and JC Penney (JCP 33.07, -0.92) all missing estimates.
Treasuries ended at their worst levels of the day, pushed to their lows after Moody's warned the U.S. credit rating could be cut if no imminent progress is made on debt ceiling talks. The 10-yr yield finished just below the 3.03% threshold while the 2-10-yr spread steepened to 256.6 basis points.
The dollar index finished near its worst levels of the day after reports that a new three-year "adjustment plan" had been agreed upon in principle in an effort to aid Greece. Those reports were later denied by the European Union Commission, but the news helped the euro hit a one-month high above 1.45.
Nonfarm payrolls, nonfarm private payrolls, the unemployment rate, hourly earnings, and average workweek will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET tomorrow with ISM Services following at 10 a.m. ET.