Aug. 20 - Summary: Retail earnings lift stocks but the Dow falters for the fifth day in a row; Home Depot shines along with housing rebound; J.C. Penney loses money but sees ''encouraging'' back-to-school season; Best Buy turns a profit but tough times ahead; Tesla scores safety win. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Blue chips tried but failed to avoid a five-day losing streak, retail earnings helped the rest of the market however. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq snapped a four-day slump, with the Nasdaq having its second best day of the month. If you're looking for signs of retail weakness tied to higher interest rates - then don't go to Home Depot. Sales at stores opened at least a year surged by double-digits for the first time in well over a decade. And for the first time since the bursting of the housing bubble, demand from professionals outstripped weekend do-it-yourselfers. Home Depot beat forecasts and guided estimates higher for the year. The back-to-school shopping season appears to be going well for J.C. Penney but turnaround efforts still have a long way to go. Total sales at stores opened a year are way below analysts expectations. By the way, the struggling retailer says it will have $1-1/2 billion in cash at the end of the year -enough to get through the holiday shopping season. So fears of shutting down, easing for now, resulting in a 6 percent gain in the stock price. Best Buy posted its first quarterly profit in a year as it keeps a lid on costs. As part of its revival plan, the retailer is expanding same-day delivery service in time for the holiday shopping season, hoping to compete better with online rivals. Outside of retail, Tesla says its Model S electric sedan received a five-star safety rating in every category scored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A NHTSA spokesperson could not be reached for comment. Nevertheless, shares rallied more than 3 percent In Europe, stocks touched a three-week low as investors prepare for an expected slowdown in Fed bond purchases.