Stocks opened in negative territory as investors digested the gains from the market's latest rally. The averages saw their lows shortly after the open, then began to drift higher and pare their losses. By noon, the market had recovered its losses and moved into positive ground. Oil prices, which began the session trading down nearly 2%, have also recovered to where they stand little changed near $52 a barrel.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims fell 17,000 to 216,000 in the week ended January 5.
In China, December's CPI was unchanged on the month after dropping 0.3% in November, while the 12-month rate slid to a 1.9% year-over-year clip versus 2.2% in November. Meanwhile, PPI growth dipped to 0.9% year-over-year versus November's 2.7% rate.
COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Macy's (M) have dropped 19% after the company cut its guidance for fiscal 2018 in conjunction with its holiday sales report. Macy's reported this morning that its owned plus licensed same-store sales for the November/December holiday period were up 1.1%, with comparable sales on an owned basis up 0.7% for the period. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette said that the holiday period "began strong," calling out Black Friday and Cyber Week in particular, but weakened in the mid-December period "and did not return to expected patterns until the week of Christmas." In November, Macy's raised its FY18 EPS view to $4.10-$4.30 from $3.95-$4.15, saying it was on track to deliver a "strong" holiday season and fourth quarter, but this morning it took its FY18 EPS view back down to $3.95-$4.00.
Other retail stocks were also weak on the heels of Macy's guidance cut, though several notably reported better SSS growth. Target (TGT) said that its same-store sales climbed 5.7% during this past holiday season, topping growth of 3.4% a year ago and surpassing some analysts' expectations. It also announced the retirement of Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith, in addition to other management changes. For its part, Kohl's (KSS) said it was "delighted" with its 1.2% shifted comparable sales increase for the holiday period, while L Brands (LB) reported that comparable sales were flat for the five weeks ended January 5 when compared to the same period of last year.
Ford (F) announced that it is starting consultations with its union partners and other key stakeholders to implement "a comprehensive transformation strategy" in Europe. Ford's European president Steve Armstrong told The Financial Times that the company does not yet have a figure for the number of jobs affected, but is quoted as having said it is "safe to say it will be thousands... it will be a significant impact on the employment numbers."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Veritone (VERI), which rose 16% it boosted its revenue outlook for the fourth quarter.
Also higher was Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), which gained 10% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was e.l.f. Beauty (ELF), which slid 16% after Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog downgraded the stock to Underperform from Market Perform, citing lost momentum.
Also lower was American Airlines (AAL), which fell 6% after it cut its adjusted earnings guidance for fiscal 2018.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 14.68, or 0.06%, to 23,893.80, the Nasdaq was flat at 6,956.75, and the S&P 500 was up 0.86, or 0.03%, to 2,585.82.