Stocks inch higher to break four-day decline
Stocks closed mostly higher on Wall Street Tuesday, breaking four straight days of losses. Bond yields pulled back, relieving investors and pushing stocks upward.
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"The fact that some of these retailers were giving mixed signals was somewhat disconcerting," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist with Federated Investors.Skip to next paragraph
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It wasn't all good news in the retail sector, however. Barnes & Noble plunged 12.4 percent after the bookseller's first-quarter loss more than doubled and the company's chairman called off his offer to buy the company's stores. Excluding one-time items, Barnes & Noble lost 86 cents per share, more than the 81 cents Wall Street analysts had expected. Thestock fell $2.06 to $14.61.
In the bond market, the source of a lot of investor worries recently, yields declined modestly after nearly two weeks of increases. The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.82 percent from 2.88 percent late Monday. It's still up sharply from its low of the year, 1.63 percent, reached in early May.
Bond yields are important because they are used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans, including mortgages. Investors have worried that a sharp rise in borrowing costs could disrupt the recovery in the U.S. economy.
The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion worth of bonds every month to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing and hiring. Now that the economy appears to be on the mend, investors expect the Fed to cut back on its purchases as soon as its September policy meeting.
"We're not talking about the Fed pulling the plug on the economy here," Orlando said. "We're talking about the Fed looking to normalize bond yields because the economy is improving."
In commodities trading, the price of crude oil fell $2.14, or 2 percent, to $104.96 a barrel. Gold rose $6.90, or 0.5 percent, to $1,372.60 an ounce.
Among other stocks making big moves:
— TiVo rose 51 cents, or 5 percent, to $10.99 after the company announced a new line of digital video recorders to give television viewers more control over what they watch.
— LightInTheBox plunged $7.69, or 40 percent, to $11.58. The newly public, China-based online retailer's sales forecast for the current quarter fell short of Wall Street's expectations. The company's initial public offering of stock in June priced shares at $9.50 each.
— Medtronic fell $1.27, or 2.3 percent, to $52.83 after the medical device maker's revenue fell shy of what Wall Street analysts were expecting. The stock has surged 29 percent this year and is trading at a five-year high.
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