Stocks pulled back Thursday after retailers released holiday sales reports that were worse than expected, raising concerns on Wall Street that the economy might be slowing more than thought.
Retail chains like Federated Department Stores Inc., Gap Inc., Limited Brands Inc., and Target Corp. all posted lackluster same-store sales during the key month of December. There were also scattered warnings in the sector that fourth-quarter profit will miss analysts’ projections.
Economic data released during morning trading also put pressure on stocks, including the Institute of Supply Management’s services sector index for December, which showed growth in the non-manufacturing sector slowed from November.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the number of laid-off workers filing unemployment claims reached its highest level since late November.
Yeah, those new jobless numbers were indeed sucky.
In the week ending Dec. 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 329,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 319,000. The 4-week moving average was 317,500, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 316,250.