Wall Street rose on Thursday after jobless claims data pointed to a healing labor market as fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
In earnings news, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $341 million, or 54 cents, compared with earnings of $637 million, or 97 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to $17.26 billion from $16.93 billion. Wall Street had expected earnings of 34 cents per share, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
In addition, the retailer’s third-quarter U.S. comparable sales increased 0.9 percent, near the low end of its prior expectations.
Costs related to store openings weighed on results after Target opened 32 stores in the third-quarter, 23 in Canada and nine in the U.S. The company said it remains on track to have 124 Canadian Target stores open by the year end. Excluding Canada-related expansion costs and other items, adjusted earnings per share came in at 84 cents, near the mid-point of the company’s expected range.
“Target’s third quarter financial results reflect continued strong execution in our U.S. Segment in an environment where consumer spending remains constrained,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Target Corporation.
“As our focus shifts to the fourth quarter, we are intently focused on delivering outstanding merchandise, an easy, fun shopping experience and an unbeatable combination of everyday low prices, weekly ad discounts, 5 percent REDcard Rewards and price match policies throughout the U.S. and Canada," added Steinhafel. "And, in our Canadian Segment, we are also focused on improving performance as we transition from opening to operating our 124 stores.”
On Thursday, shares of Target fell 3.41 percent to $64.22 in mid-day trading.
Also on Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) posted a loss of $15.6 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with a profit of $84 million, or $1.02 per share, in the same period a year ago. Sales for the period ended Nov. 2 declined 12 percent to $1.03 billion from $1.17 billion.
The stock fell in pre-market trading after the teen retailer forecast a double-digit percentage decline in comparable sales in the holiday quarter.
"Our results for the third quarter reflect weakness in top-line performance, which we expect to continue in the fourth quarter,” said Mike Jeffries, chief executive and chairman of the board of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “However, we continue to work hard to offset these conditions and are aggressively pursuing initiatives we believe will improve the sales trend as we go forward.”
Abercrombie & Fitch shares slipped 0.20 percent to $34.92 in afternoon trade.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) reported a net loss in the fiscal third-quarter that widened to $534 million, or $5.03 a share, compared with $498 million, or $4.70 a share, a year earlier. Sales for the quarter fell 6.7 percent to $8.3 billion, below analysts' expectations of $8.9 billion, according to Reuters.
"While transformations of this scale are challenging, we believe we are making progress as we are seeing substantive continued increases in our SYW member engagement metrics,” said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Throughout this transition, we have continued with traditional promotional programs and marketing expenditures while investing in our member-centric model, which has impacted our margin and expenses. We have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars annually in our transformation and will continue to invest in the future of the company."
Shares of Sears edged up 0.06 percent to $61.74.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 94.94 points, or 0.60 percent, to 15,995.76. The S&P 500 gained 11.19 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,792.56. The Nasdaq Composite added 35.46 points, or 0.90 percent, to 3,956.73.