Expectations for the critical holiday shopping period were lukewarm after a mixed series of earnings reports from leading retailers. Macy’s soared after earnings bested expectations and the company’s chief executive expressed confidence about the important fourth quarter. The Macy’s report initially lifted many other retail stocks, even as analysts warned the results were likely company-specific and not a sign of a broader trend. Subsequent earnings reports from Nordstrom and Kohl’s led to declines in both stocks.
Wal-Mart fared somewhat better, rising after earnings bested expectations even as it warned that retail competition “remains aggressive for every holiday purchase.”
Next week, investors will get a look at home-improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s earnings reports. Major economic reports include retail sales, existing-home sales and the minutes from the Fed’s Oct. 29 and 30 policy meeting.