Jan. 16 - Summary: Intel gives lukewarm forecast; Amex profit doubles; Stocks mostly were lower on disappointing bank results; Best Buy tanks on holiday results. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Intel earnings missed forecasts by a penny- The company reported results after the closing bell- giving a lukewarm first quarter revenue forecast. But profits doubled over at American Express. Holiday shoppers spent more money in the core U.S. market- giving AmEx their biggest increase in worldwide spending on its cards in four quarters. Stocks took a step back on Thursday- with the S&P 500 coming off its most recent record high- though the Nasdaq eked out a small gain. The most dramatic drop- Best Buy. Down about 28 percent-a big reversal after a stunning run in 2013. Easily the S&P 500's worst performer. Holiday sales were disappointing and their operating margins were hit hard. Its strategy of matching steep discounts at its rivals- backfiring. The company's CEO saying the weakness in the consumer electronics industry was a "shock for everyone". Bank profits disappointed. Both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs reporting quarterly profits hit by lower bond trading revenue. Goldman was one of the biggest decliners in the Dow. Citi fell as well. Several positive data points on the U.S. economy: Initial jobless claims slipped for the second week in a row- suggesting a sharp slowdown in job growth in December was likely to be temporary. A separate report showed inflation rose only slightly in November. And the Philly Fed survey of business activity came in better than expected. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke of his confidence in the recovering economy at the Brookings Institution: SOUNDBITE: BEN BERNANKE, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The financial system is strong, the key financial institutions are well capitalized so we are watching this very vigilantly. We have developed tremendous additional capacity for doing that but at this point you know we don't think and I think I can speak for my colleagues on this, we don't think that financial stability concerns should at this point detract from the need for monetary policy accommodation which we are continuing to provide." It's expected to be the final official speaking engagement for the Fed Chairman- Bernanke finishes his term at the end of the month. In Europe: shares edged lower but just below a 5-1/2 year high on Thursday- hit by a string of weak retail sector earnings reports.