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Here are the major headlines in the stock market today.
- GDP revised slightly higher in second quarter– Even though U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was adjusted to 1.7% from 1.5% during the second quarter, the fact remains that it was depressingly low. Since the U.S. officially exited the recession in mid-2009, GDP growth levels have been stagnant and economists do not expect the rest of 2012 to be any different. The U.S. is projected to grow 2.0% in the third quarter and 1.9% in the final three months of the year. The government will issue its third and final estimate of second quarter GDP in several weeks. "It shows slightly better government spending and consumer spending but overall the data suggest the economy stays in slow growth mode and is not likely to change," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York told Reuters." This certainly strengthens the hands of the Fed to aid the economy."
- Gas prices rise 5 cents nationwide- AAA reported that gas prices will be a nickel higher on average when consumers head to the pump Wednesday, sparked by the destruction of Hurricane Isaac. Prices on average are $3.804, the highest level since May. Today's spike is the biggest one-day move since February 2011 when concerns over Libya caused prices to rise. Some states, particularly those in the Midwest who receive most of their oil or gas from the Gulf, saw the largest increases. Ohio had the largest rise with a 13.9 cent increase, followed by a 13.2 cent rise in Indiana and a 12 cent rise in Michigan.
- Existing home sales rise by most in two years- The Pending Home Sales Index reported by the National Association of Realtors revealed that contracts signed in July for previously owned homes increased 2.4% to 101.7. This is the highest level since April 2010 and ahead of analysts' expectations for a 1% gain from the prior month. Year-over-year the index increased 15%.
- Jos A. Bank Clothiers Inc. ( NYSE: JOSB) beats estimates – Men's apparel and accessories retailer JoS. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. reported second-quarter net income of $23.2 million, or 83 cents a share, compared with earnings of $20.6 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of 73 cents. The Hampstead, MD company saw sales jump 12.9% to $260.3 million, beating Wall Street's expectation of $251.1 million. Same-store sales rose 6.1%. Internet and catalog sales, measured in the direct marketing segment increased 39.3% from the year-ago quarter. The company, which currently has 556 U.S. retail stores, announced that it now expects to grow to 800 total stores, including 100 factory stores. "This increase further solidifies the strength of our brand which continues to gain prominence in the U.S. market through our existing store presence, our advertising and marketing campaigns and our e-commerce platforms, among other factors," CEO R. Neal Black said in a statement. JOSB stock is up 17% in early trading.
- H.J. Heinz Co. (NSYE: HNZ) reports strong profits but shares fall- Heinz reported first-quarter net income rose 11% to $264.7 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with earnings from a year ago of $235 million, or 70 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, Heinz earned 87 cents per share, topping projections of 81 cents. Revenue for the period ended July 29 fell 1.5% to $2.79 billion from a year ago, but around the $2.8 billion in sales analysts had expected. HNZ stock is down over 2% in early trading.
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