A tame inflation report and a business as usual report on weekly jobless claims failed to generate any continued buzz in stocks. Even the Philly Fed being positive for eight months in a row failed to create much interest. With the S&P 500 hitting new highs and the Dow Jones industrial Average close to new highs this week, investors took profits.
What is interesting is that the DJIA had seen triple-digit moves each day this week, and we did see at one point where the DJIA was down by about 101 points again. We would point out that the selling was broad-based on Thursday. Only 8 of the 30 DJIA stocks had gains as of the final few minutes of trading. Here were the four standout Dow stocks this Thursday.
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE: UNH) saw more give-back on earnings. This is the largest health insurance provider out there and it is hard to imagine that things would have been great with the healthcare initiative being such a blunder. Shares were down by 2.2% at $73.14 right before the closing bell on Thursday.
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) managed to have great earnings, but the sales figure drop and some other items in the numbers drove investors to want to lock in profits. Goldman Sachs’ shares were down by 1.7% at $175.75 right before the close of trading on Thursday. The firm’s book value rose by 5% to $152.48 per share, while tangible book value rose 7% to $143.11 per share.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) also saw a larger sell-off than the broad market. Shares of the world’s largest retailer were down 1.3% at $76.65 right before the closing bell. Perhaps investors worry about a data breach hurting it as well, or perhaps the woes of Best Buy’s 30% drop on the day are risks that investors do not want to sit around to wait for.
General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) was another drag, and it may simply be investors locking in gains. The biggest conglomerate is due to report earnings on Friday morning, and a full earnings preview has been given. The fear is that no revenue growth is available even if earnings are growing. GE shares were down by 0.8% at $27.12 in the last few minutes of trading on Thursday.
Friday is always a quiet day for earnings, but earnings will be seen from GE and Schlumberger. Also due are economic reports from Housing Starts, Industrial Production, and Consumer Sentiment.