This morning before the open two of the biggest retailers Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) reported their quarterly earnings. Walmart forecast a weak 3Q and full year citing economic pressure on its customers. Investors didn’t respond favorably to what Home Depot (HD) had to say either. Walmart is currently down about 5% and Home Depot about half that.
But it goes beyond just their stocks because investors read into the reports of big retailers like this about the state of the consumer as a whole. So it touches a big swath of stocks and the economy.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for July actually came in fine this morning with core PPI up .1% from June. Overall was up .6% because of higher energy prices.
The Dow was down about 80 points when CNBC broke a report that Sentinel Management Group, a manager of money market funds, was halting redemptions from its money market funds (Sentinel Letter To Clients).
Money market funds are supposed to be highly liquid and you should be able to get your money any time you want it. This, needless to say, heightened the fear level (as if it needed heightening!) and stocks sold off some more – the Dow was down almost 100 more points within half an hour.
In more positive news, the IPO of VMware, a maker of virtualization software that improves the efficiency of servers, one of the most highly anticipated tech IPOs in a long time (subscription required), has been a huge sucess. The shares priced at $29, opened at $51 and are currently trading around $54 – up 86%!
Here’s how things look now (12:45pm EST):
Dow: -95, to 13,141 (-.72%)
S&P: -11, to 1442 (-.76%)
Russell: -6, 774 (-.74%)