The Dow pulled back 42 points to 19,899 on heavier volume while the NASDAQ moved up 12 points on lighter volume to an all-time record high as the noise from DC regarding policy changes coupled with the front end of the 4th quarter earnings reporting season has caused markets to run into resistance as of late.
Department stores are assessing Christmas sales and making post-holiday adjustments. Macy’s and Kohl’s both cut earnings estimates and Macy’s also said it would close 100 stores and lay off 10,000 workers. Department store stocks were shellacked today as a result. I suppose the Macy’s people could all go to work for Amazon which seems to have done very well over Christmas. Costco meanwhile reported great sales numbers as comp stores sales were up 3% versus estimates calling for growth of 1.3%. Analysts had expressed concern over store traffic levels but the biggest problem for Costco customers at is finding parking spots. Today’s sales data pointed to a big shift in how people shop as clicks appear to have the upper hand over bricks.
With Washington State’s new $11 minimum wage affective Jan. 1 many I talk to are experiencing higher prices at the local cafés and seedy wharf side coffee houses. One potential winner from the higher minimum wage could be the grocery stores and places like Costco and Amazon since the cost of eating at a local restaurant or shopping at a local store just went up. It will be interesting to track this trend.
Gold prices shot higher today thanks to the US dollar pulling back from a 14 year high. Gold finished the day up $15.40 an ounce to $1,180.