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Stock Market News for May 29, 2014

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Benchmarks snapped a four-day winning streak and ended in the red on Wednesday after investors took a breather and retail stocks declined.The day was devoid of any economic data that could impact markets. Investors now await the GDP report scheduled for release on Thursday. 

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped about 0.3% to close Wednesday’s trading session at 16,633.18. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) declined 0.1% to finish at 1,909.78. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3% to 4,225.07. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) went up 1.5% to settle at 11.68. Total volume for the day was roughly 5.38 billion shares, lower than this month’s average of 5.79 billion. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 51% stocks that advanced, 46% declined.
Selling pressure in retail stocks had a negative impact on the benchmarks. Shares of Chico's FAS Inc. (NYSE:CHS) declined 3.0% after the company posted first quarter 2014 earnings per share of 26 cents, less than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 29 cents per share. The company’s first quarter earnings also declined from last year’s first quarter earnings per share of 32 cents.
DSW Inc.’s (NYSE:DSW) first quarter 2014 earnings of 42 cents per share fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 48 cents per share. The company’s first quarter 2014 sales decreased 0.4% year on year to $599 million. Shares of this footwear and accessories retailer tanked 27.4%, erasing more than a fourth of its market value.
Retail stocks such as discount retailer Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG), home improvement chain Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW), Bebe Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE), discount stores company Family Dollar Stores Inc.(NYSE:FDO), drugstore chain Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. (NYSE:VSI), specialty stores company Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.(NASDAQ:BBBY), multi-channel retailer of technology products Best Buy Co., Inc.(NYSE:BBY), specialty retailer PetSmart, Inc.(NASDAQ:PETM), Staples, Inc.(NASDAQ:SPLS), off-price apparel and home fashions retailer The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) and sports and fitness retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.’s (NYSE:DKS) also decreased 3.0%, 2.2%, 5.4%, 0.2%, 1.3%, 1.5%, 0.5%, 0.2%, 0.7%, 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.’s (NYSE:VRX) new bid for Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) failed to lift investor sentiment. In order to acquire Botox maker Allergan, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, raised its offer to about $49.4 billion, including a $10 hike in the cash component. In response, Allergen stated that they will “carefully review and consider” the revised offer. Shares of both Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Allergan dropped 2.3% and 5.4%, respectively.
McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD) was a big drag on the blue-chip index. Its shares decreased 1.0% after the company made major capital return announcements. The fast food behemoth expects to return $18 billion to $20 billion to its shareholders between 2014 and 2016. Compared to the previous three-year period, this is an increase by 10% to 20%. The company plans to return the cash to its shareholders through a combination of quarterly dividends and share buybacks.
Meanwhile, investors remained focused on first quarter GDP numbers scheduled for release on Thursday. According to the consensus estimate, GDP in the first quarter is expected to decline by 0.5%, in sharp contrast to the “advance” estimate that predicts an increase of 0.1%. The increase in the “advance” estimate of first quarter output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States was lower than the consensus estimate of a rise by 1.2%. Harsh winter weather was cited to be the primary reason behind slow growth in the first quarter.
Six out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the red. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) led the decline among the S&P 500 sectors. The sector dropped 0.7%. Key housing stocks such as Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) and PulteGroup, Inc.  (NYSE:PHM) declined 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

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