Oct. 09 - Summary: The Dow and S&P 500 rallies thanks to forecasts from Nike and Hewlett-Packard; Men's Wearhouse shares surge on Jos. A. Bank offer; Yellen pick for next Fed head a welcome relief for rattled nerves. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Investors had enough corporate news to pour over to temporarily take their attention away from the debt ceiling deadline. And so the Dow and S&P 500 rallied for the first time this week. The Nasdaq, however, continues to suffer as nervous investors sell this year's winners. There's a buyer walking through the doors of Men's Wearhouse but not the kind the retailer wants to see. Jos. A. Bank offered $2.3 billion to buy its bigger rival. The offer was quickly rejected for being too low. But investors think it's a good fit. Jos. A. Bank jumped more than percent. Men's Warehouse shares surged almost 30 percent, closing near 6-year high. Sticking with retail: Nike's fiscal year sales forecast came in ahead of analysts' numbers, giving the new Dow component a less than one percent gain. Hewlett-Packard is telling investors to expect sales growth to stabilize next year and pick up the year after. That projection was good enough for an 8.9 percent rally in the stock. Profits at Costco rose less than expected last quarter with sales at stores opened at least a year failing to hit analysts' targets, providing the latest snapshot of trouble in consumer land. Shares, however, were up as Costco details U.S. and International expansion plans. Yum Brands is still suffering from a food scare in China - its biggest market. The operator of KFC is delaying expectations for a rebound. That stock was down 6.7 percent as analysts pare back forecasts. The wait is over - no not the end of the government budget battle - the wait to find out who will be the new nominee to head the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen is President Obama's pick and she is viewed as market friendly because she will not be fast in unraveling Bernanke's bond-buying program. Nariman Behravesh of IHS: SOUNDBITE: NARIMAN BEHRAVESH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, IHS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think she's been closely allied with Ben Bernanke and his policies. So I think what we get with Janet Yellen is continuity above all and stability in some sense in what we can expect from the Federal Reserve." Looking to the action in Europe, stocks were down slightly with a cautious eye on the U.S. debt limit.