XAutoplay: On | Off U.S. stock indexes were flat to down in midday trade, as volume picked up.
The Nasdaq was virtually flat, while the S&P 500 shaved off 0.1%. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average stepped back less than 0.1%. The small-cap Russell 2000 sagged 0.5%. Volume in the stock market today was higher on both major exchanges vs. the same time Monday.
Blue chips were mostly down. In the Dow Jones industrial average, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) dropped 1.5% in fast trade. Amazon.com (AMZN) is targeting Wal-Mart’s customer base with a move to slash its Prime membership 45% for customers receiving government assistance. Amazon was flat.
In the IBD 50, a proxy for top stocks, winners led losers by a 4-1 ratio. Big percentage gainers included clinical development software provider Medidata Solutions (MDSO), up 7% to a record high; fiber-optic stock Lumentum Holdings (LITE), up 9%; and China-based social network provider Momo (MOMO), up 5%.
Retail stocks ran into trouble Tuesday, continuing a recent trend. Consumer electronics and appliance chain Conn’s (CONN) reported a 9% drop in Q1 revenue, sending the stock plunging 13%.
Apparel retailer Francesca’s (FRAN) gapped down 14% after reporting a 5% drop in same-store sales.
Casey’s General Stores (CASY) gapped down 7%. Sales jumped 17%, but the company’s after-tax margin rolled in at 1.6%, down from the year-ago figure of 3%.
As this earnings season concludes, retailers that rose were those that provided hope on the online or warehouse level. For example, online sales are not a big part of the business for Ulta Beauty (ULTA), but online revenue jumped 71% in Q1.
Among IBD’s 197 industry groups, the day’s top performers included RVs, fiber optics and gold miners. The iShares Gold Trust (IAU) gapped up 1.2%. The exchange traded fund has risen almost 7% since marking a short-term low May 9.
The worst performers included department stores and oil drillers.
The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS, came in at 6.044 million. The reading was more than 5% above expectations and higher than the most bullish estimate in the range.
Redbook’s weekly gauge for same-store sales at chain stores, discounters and department stores was 2.5%, vs. 1.8% for the previous week.