Stocks spent most of today’s session moving in a sideways range around the neutral line, and ultimately ended on a mixed note. Some of the caution seen today may have to do with the fact that the market has logged a string of daily gains, and may be in need of a pause. In addition, traders may be sitting on the sidelines, as a holiday weekend is approaching, and the market will be closed on Monday. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about three points; the broader S&P 500 Index was up nearly a point; and the NASDAQ was higher by five points.
General merchandise retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, (WMT) reported marginally better-than-expected results for the fiscal first quarter (years end January 31st). Total revenue rose 2.5% to $118.8 billion, slightly higher than our $118.0 billion estimate. Earnings per share of $1.00 came in at the high end of the $0.90-$1.00 guidance range, and surpassed our call by $0.03. Encouragingly, this marked the first quarterly EPS increase in more than two years.
Shares of networking equipment maker and Dow-30 component Cisco Systems (CSCO) declined sharply following the release of fiscal third-quarter results and a weaker outlook.