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Stocks were mostly lower Wednesday to hover below record levels, as investors digested a set of solid corporate earnings results from more major retailers.
The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were slightly lower. Tesla (TSLA) shares bucked the trend of the market and extended gains, after jumping 4% on Tuesday. Peloton (PTON) shares fell after surging by nearly 16% on Tuesday in its best day since May 2020, after the company announced a secondary stock offering that would net more than $1 billion.
Despite the mild pullback on Wednesday, stocks remained close to record levels. Better-than-expected economic data, with retail sales growing by the most since March in October, and strong earnings results from major companies including Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) helped buoy the broader markets in recent sessions. The latest earnings results from Target (TGT) and Lowe’s (LOW) on Wednesday showed continued strength, albeit alongside some lingering concerns over the impacts of supply-side disruptions and rising input costs.
Target posted better-than-expected third-quarter sales and earnings per share as customer traffic picked up both in-stores and online, but the report also showed that supply chain snarls and rising labor costs were weighing on margins. This echoed tones from Walmart executives, who during their earnings call on Tuesday also said that they were “seeing inflationary cost pressures in some areas” but were working with suppliers to “manage margins appropriately.” Lowe’s, meanwhile, posted stronger-than-expected sales and raised its full-year revenue guidance, suggesting demand for home-improvement projects was holding up.
The general strength of corporate earnings for the latest quarter has helped investors at least temporarily look beyond concerns over still-elevated inflation. And indeed, some of the growth in Tuesday’s retail sales report likely stemmed from rising prices, given that the Commerce Department reports retail sales nominally.
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