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Midday Market Update

Stocks Rise: Oil, Retail Earnings Eyed

U.S. Market    
Stocks were higher this morning as oil prices rose and better-than-expected results from retailers. 

Initial unemployment claims fell by 1,000 to 266,000 last week. The less volatile four-week moving average rose by 3,000 to 262,750.

At midday the Dow was up 0.7% while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were each 0.5% higher.

Stocks on the Move
Shares of  Macy’s (M)  soared 17% this morning after the firm reported earnings and said it would close stores and cut costs. Management expects to close 15% of its stores by early next year so that it can focus more on tis digital business.  Same-store sales fell 2% in the quarter, better than the 4.7% fall that had been anticipated. 

 Kohl’s (KSS) also saw its shares bounce this morning (up almost 15%) on the back of better-than-expected earnings. Earnings of 77 cents per shares were above the 66 cents per share the firm made in the year-ago quarter as better inventory management helped boost gross margins.

Foreign Markets
European shares rallied today. The FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and Paris CAC were up 0.7%, 0.9% and 1.2% respectively.

Asian markets were mixed. The Shanghai Composite  was down 0.5%, the Nikkei 225 was off 0.2% while the Hang Seng rose 0.4%.