Aug. 8 - Summary: Priceline tops forecast after the bell; Wall Street stops slide as T-Mobile, Tesla earnings shift focus away from Fed speculation. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Upbeat earnings helped investors ease up on speculating when the Federal Reserve will start removing some of the extra help to the economy. Jobless claims holding near lows not seen since before the start of the 2007 recession also helped the tone. The Dow and the S&P 500 breaking a three-day slide and the Nasdaq put a stop to a back-to-back drop. After the bell, quarterly profits at Priceline were up more than expected and sales for the name-your-price travel website exceeded the consensus as well. Subscriber growth at T-Mobile USA easily topped forecasts, as the wireless subscriber ended a four-year customer exodus. Adding the iPhone helped, but scrapping two-year phone agreements, and an aggressive campaign against larger rivals Verizon and AT&T is paying off. Investors rewarded the stock with a more than 4 percent gain. Tesla's better-than-expected results the day before resulted in analysts heaping praise on the electric car company. Shares of Tesla up more than 14 percent for the day and up more than 400 percent from a year ago. Outside of earnings, J.C. Penney hasn't had a permanent CEO since April and that's not sitting well with activist investor Bill Ackman. He wants a new CEO to be named within the next 30 to 45 days, according to CNBC. Hopes of a management shake-up, waking up the stock with a 6.7 percent gain. And sticking with that industry, retailers posted higher sales at stores opened more than a year but discounts padded the results, causing concern the back-to-school shopping season may be lackluster. So-called same-store sales up for the month of July at McDonald's. Stronger-than-expected demand in the U.S. offset weak results out of Europe and Asia. Finally, looking at Europe, unemployment in Greece hit a staggering 27.6 percent. That did not derail a rally though for stocks in Germany, France and the U.K.