After suffering several days of decline, stock markets in the United States recorded gains today. Some retailers reported earnings results that exceeded the consensus estimates of Wall Street analyst, an indication that consumers are spending and the economy is getting better.

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In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Frank Ingara, head trader at NorthCoast Asset Management who said the retail earnings are pretty good and things are moving in the right direction. He also said, “Everyone is still focused on Fed tapering. We remain cautiously bullish with pretty full exposure to stocks.”

Over the past four days, the benchmark gauge declined by 2.9% due to increasing speculations that the Federal Reserve will start cutting its $85 billion bond purchases program by September. Tomorrow, the Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its July 30-31 meeting. The Feds will discuss monetary policy during their meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week. A majority of economists (65%) expect policy makers to reduce quantitative easing to $75 billion per month.

The stock markets in Europe and Asia were also negatively affected by speculations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will taper its monthly bond buying program.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15, 019 (+0.6%)
  • S&P 500- 1,653 (+0.47%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,614 (+0.72%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,028 (+1.53%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 2,787 (-1.25%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,453 (-0.19%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 8,300 (-0.79%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 13,396 (-2.63%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21, 970 (-2.20%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2, 312 (-0.81%)

Stocks In Focus

The stock price of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) increased by more than 11% to as much as $35.78 per share after the company posted better than expected financial results. The largest retailer of consumer electronics posted $0.32 adjusted earnings per share on $9.3 billion revenue, significantly higher than the consensus estimate at $0.12 earnings per share o $9.13 billion revenue. The company also reported that it would receive $229 million from a legal settlement with the manufacturers of TFT-LCD panels.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) gained as much as 7% to around $14.39 per share after the embattled department store chain recorded sales in the second quarter that shows improvement. During the second quarter, JC Penney’s monthly revenue improved and decline of its online business slowed down. The financial performance of the department store chain showed that the strategy of its CEO Mike Ullman is working after bringing back coupons and launching sales events frequently. Gilford Securities analyst, Bernard Sosnick projected that J.C. Penney will become profitable in the fourth quarter of this year.

The stock value of Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) surged by more than 9% to as high as $44.15 a share today. The retailer also posted outstanding earnings results for the second quarter. Urban Outfitters reported $0.51 earnings per share, higher than the consensus EPS estimate at $0.48. The company’s same store sales went up by 9% driven by strong performances of all brands.

Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS) declined by more than 7% to as low as $46.54 per share after the company posted financial results that was lower than consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company posted $0.71 earnings per share on $1.53 billion revenue compared with the consensus estimate of $0.74 earnings per share on $1.57 billion revenue. The management of Dick’s Sporting Goods also reduced its profit guidance for the fiscal 2013.