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While you were sleeping: Macy’s upbeat outlook boosts Wall St

Thursday 17th May 2018

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Wall Street rose as better-than-expected results from Macy’s lifted its shares as well as those of other retailers and underpinned optimism about consumer spending and the economic outlook. 

Shares of Macy’s rallied, up 11 percent as of 3.11pm in New York, after the department store chain upgraded its earnings outlook. 

First-quarter results “reflect continuing momentum in the business,” Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We exceeded our expectations and saw strong performance across all three brands—Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury—as well as across all geographic regions and families of business.” 

“We also saw continued healthy consumer spending and significant improvements in international tourism,” according to Gennette.

Other US retailers advanced in Macy’s wake, with shares of JC Penney gaining 5.3 percent and those of Target rising 2.6 percent.

“Tax cuts, bonuses and good tax refunds have all been a windfall to consumers who have responded by increasing spending,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Reuters. “This rising tide has floated most retail boats, Macy’s among them.”

In 3.15pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7 percent. In 3.01pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.5 percent.

The Dow rose as gains in shares of Nike and those of General Electric, recently up 2.6 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of 3M and those of the Home Depot, recently each down 0.9 percent.

In the latest US economic data, a Federal Reserve report showed US factory output rose 0.5 percent in April, while total industrial production grew 0.7 percent last month. 

But the outlook carries uncertainty, some warned. 

“Risks continue to hover over our industrial outlook, mainly related to trade policy,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics in New York. “China-US trade tensions are slowly rising while strains between the US and Europe are becoming more visible following the Trump administration’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear deal.”

Meanwhile, a Commerce Department report showed housing starts slid 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.287 million units in April. 

US Treasuries fell, lifting yields on the 10-year note one basis point to 3.089 percent, according to Bloomberg. 

“I think bonds are almost becoming an attractive alternative to equities,” David Carter chief investment officer, Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York, told Reuters. “Not yet, in our opinion, but as yields continue to rise, we may get there soon.”

In Europe, Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a 0.2 percent increase from the previous close. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.2 percent, as did Germany’s DAX index, while France’s CAC 40 Index rose 0.3 percent. 


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