Initial jobless claims fell a less than expected 3,000 to 402,000. The four-week moving average increased 3,500 to 398,000. Individuals still receiving benefits climbed to 3.21 million.
But consumers still continue to spend. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) reported a 7% jump in August same store sales, and a 14.3% increase in net sales. JC Penny (JCP) also had a good month, with sales up 7.5% at stores that have been open at least one year. Electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) not only reported an increase in same store sales, but also raised its earning target for the quarter. Apparel retailers had a tough month. AnnTaylor (ANN) sales dropped 3.5%, Gap reported a 17% decline, and Abercrombie (ANF) experienced a 10% decline.
Fairchild Semi (FCS) is raising its third quarter guidance on improving customer order rates, but Lehman Brothers doesn't believe that will be the trend in the sector. Analyst Edward White sees Lam Research (LRCX), Teradyne (TER), Axcelis Technologies (ACLS), PRI Automation (PRIA), and Varian Semi (VSEA) having a hard time meeting earnings targets.
Myriad Genetics (MYGN) has discovered a drug that could help with the treatment of hepatitis C.
The futures market is signaling a weak opening. Dow futures are down 73, Nasdaq futures off 23, and the S&P 500 is down 9.70. HL Camp and Company has fair value for the S&P 500 at $1.42, with buy programs set at $3.12, and sell programs set at $0.02.