Jan. 8 - Summary: Private hiring hits 13-month high but Wall Street not impressed; Macy's to let go of 2,500 as holiday mall traffic slows; J.C. Penney adds mystery to holiday sales; Sell Twitter -Cantor. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street was mostly lower on Wednesday with stronger-than-anticipated hiring already baked into forecasts. Stocks finished off their lows of the day with the Nasdaq managing to turn a gain. Minutes from The Federal Reserve's December meeting show just how careful policymakers were in scaling back their stimulus program. Of particular note, there was discussion about over-relying on the jobless rate to dictate when interest rates should rise and some worry about the impact low inflation is having on the economic recovery. In the end, the Fed decided to trim its monthly bond-buying program to $75 billion a month. The labor market shows hiring continues in the right direction. Private employers added 238,000 positions in December - the fastest job creation in 13 months, according to payroll company ADP. But Macy's is cutting 2500 jobs as it looks to save $100 million a year. The job cuts come as ShopperTrak data show a double-digit drop in industrywide mall traffic during the Thanksgiving to Christmas shopping period. Fellow mall anchor - J.C. Penney isn't revealing much. The department store operator saying only that it was "pleased" with holiday sales. The secretive description fueled speculation of disappointing sales figures to come - sending the stock down by 10 percent. Sell Twitter, that's the recommendation of Cantor Fitzgerald. The firm says Twitter holds a lot of promise as a company but the stock is too rich at current levels. Twitter, which announced it will reveal quarterly results on February 5th, fell 3-1/2 percent on the downgrade. Hopes of a transformative pick to take over from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer are fading. And sources say don't expect a new CEO to be named until late January, early February. Shares of the tech company were down nearly 2 percent on speculation an insider may get the job. In European action: stocks slipped slightly but there's growing confidence the Eurozone's troubled economies are getting their act together.