The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 11, 2013

Stocks flip between slight gains and losses


From The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Rite Aid, Ross Stores and other retail stocks rose Thursday after turning in better sales, and major indexes edged up following three days of gains.

Technology stocks slumped following a drop in PC sales.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 21 points to 14,826 shortly after 10 a.m. It jumped 128 points the day before. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up two points at 1,589.

Stocks in retail stores were among those making the biggest moves. The discount retailer Ross Stores jumped 6 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The company said that stronger sales in March will likely push profits above its previous estimate.

Rite Aid soared 14 percent after the drugstore chain said higher sales of generic drugs and lower costs helped it post better earnings than analysts had expected. Bed Bath & Beyond rose 3 percent after the company reported stronger profits.

Technology stock didn’t join the upturn. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell three points to 3,294 and Information technology was the only one of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index that fell in early trading Thursday.    

Technology stocks surged Wednesday on optimism that businesses would step up tech spending. That pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 index to their third straight day of gains as well as record highs.

Makers of computer hardware and software fell sharply following a report late Wednesday that shipments of PCs dropped 14 percent worldwide in the first quarter versus the period a year earlier, the deepest quarterly drop since International Data Corp. started tracking the industry in 1994.

The three companies in the Dow that do business in PCs fell the most of the 30 stocks in the index. Hewlett-Packard dropped 5.3 percent to $21.13, Microsoft fell 4.6 percent to $28.88 and Intel fell 2.4 percent to $21.72. Together they dragged the Dow down by 24 points.

For the week, the Dow is up 2 percent and the S&P 500 is up 2.4 percent. The Nasdaq has surged 3 percent.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week. Analysts said it’s a possible sign that a slowdown in hiring last month may have been temporary.

In U.S. government bond trading Thursday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 1.79 percent from 1.80 percent late Wednesday.