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Stocks were sliding early Thursday as markets continue to struggle to maintain momentum from this summer’s rally.
About 45 minutes after the opening bell, the Dow was off 0.4%, the Nasdaq down 0.3%, while the benchmark S&P 500 saw the slimmest losses, falling 0.2%.
On Wednesday, all three indexes posted losses with the Nasdaq falling more than 1%.
Traders have been eyeing the 200-day moving average on the S&P 500, a level the index reached on Tuesday and has since traded below, suggesting the market’s long-term trend remains in control.
WTI crude oil futures, which on Tuesday notched the lowest settlement since January 25, were up more than 2% on Thursday morning to trade north of $90 a barrel.
On the economic data side, the weekly report on initial jobless claims showed fewer Americans than expected filed for first-time unemployment insurance last week. Data showed 250,000 initial claims were filed, less than the 260,000 that economists had expected. Initial claims have been closely-watched through the summer for signs of a softening labor market.
The retail sector remains in focus on Thursday, with results from Kohl’s (KSS) before the opening bell disappointing to the downside, sending shares of the retailer down more than 9% in early trading. Kohl’s had pared some losses in morning trade, with shares off around 5.5% near 10:10 a.m. ET.
Kohl’s slashed its full-year forecast, saying it expects sales will fall 5%-6% after having previously expected a modest increase in sales this year. Full-year earnings per share are now expected to be between $2.80-$3.20; the company had previously expected earnings per share in a range of $6.45-$6.85.
The Kohl’s label is seen on a shopping cart in a Kohl’s department store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S.
Elsewhere in retail, shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) remain a fascination for investors, with shares down as much as 26% early trading after an SEC filing on Wednesday revealed Ryan Cohen has filed to sell his entire stake in the retailer.
Cohen’s RC Ventures, which owns an 11.8% stake in retailer, revealed plans to unload the stake in a Form 144 filed with the SEC on Tuesday; as of the filing date, Cohen had not sold any shares. Cohen first revealed his position in Bed Bath & Beyond in March.
In a statement on Thursday, Bed Bath & Beyond said: “We were pleased to have reached a constructive agreement with RC Ventures in March and are committed to maximizing value for all shareholders. We are continuing to execute on our priorities to enhance liquidity, make strategic changes and improve operations to win back customers, and drive cost efficiencies; all to restore our company to its heritage as the best destination for the home, for all stakeholders. Specifically, we have been working expeditiously over the past several weeks with external financial advisors and lenders on strengthening our balance sheet, and the Company will provide more information in an update at the end of this month.”
In another oddity related to this saga, the Financial Times late Wednesday reported a 20-year-old college student from New Jersey cashed in $110 million during Bed Bath & Beyond’s recent rally. Jake Freeman told the FT he raised $25 million from friends and family, put it all on Bed Bath & Beyond, sent the company a letter demanding it fix its capital structure, and then cashed out.
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