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Stock Market News Today, Nov. 21: U.S. stocks are continuing to rally today as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 4.22% this week from 4.35% last week, and despite the fact that data showed manufacturing activity slowed this month.
The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index for October was 6.5 last month, down from 19.8 in October and below economists' expectations for 14.5. That data indicates slowing, but still positive general manufacturing activity.
While the general stock market today is strongly in the green, several major retailers are slipping on disappointing quarterly earnings this week, including Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD).
Major Retailers in the Red Today
In consumer sector news today, Target is down about 4% today as it reports third-quarter earnings per share of $0.54, down from $0.97 per share last year. Profit fell mostly due to expenses related to its Canadian segment.
Target's sales for the quarter were $16.9 billion, up from $16.6 billion the same quarter last year and falling short of analysts' expectations for $17.37 billion.
And, Sears is seeing volatile trading today after it reported a third-quarter loss of $2.88 per share, wider than the year ago loss but topping Street expectations for a $3.39 per share loss. Sears' revenue was $8.27 billion, down from $8.85 billion last year and short of the Street view of $8.38 billion.
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Finally, Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR) shares are suffering a similar fate today. DLTR is down about 5% in pre-market trade after saying its Q3 earnings were $0.58 per share, up from $0.51 the year earlier, but missing the average $0.60 Capital IQ analyst estimate. Sales rose 9.5% to $1.88 billion compared to the $1.9 billion consensus estimate.
However, not all retail stocks reporting earnings today are damped by results. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) shares are up about 1% after it reported mixed third-quarter results, although the stock was down about 3% in pre-market trade. And Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (Nasdaq: GMCR) is surging nearly 18% today on its fourth-quarter results.
January Crude Oil Futures Inch up
Like stock futures, energy futures are also higher today. Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery is trading up $0.46 at $94.31 a barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil is up $0.01 at $2.97 a gallon while natural gas is up $0.01 at $3.69 per million British thermal units.
In other energy news, EXECO Resources Inc. (NYSE: XCO) stock is responding well to news on management changes, including a departing chief executive officer (CEO).
XCO is up 7% today after it said Douglas H. Miller has resigned from his positions as chairman of the Board and CEO and from the company's Board of Directors, effective as of Nov. 20.
But metals futures, including gold and silver, are in the red today. December gold is down about $17 at $1,240.40 per ounce and December silver is down $0.28 at $19.78.
AstraZeneca Among Healthcare Gainers
In healthcare sector news today, AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) is up 3.0% today, marking a new 52-week high at $55, as it reportedly could consider buying Acetelion, a Swiss biotech company, according to a Citi research note, Reuters reports. The note said Acetelion is an "intriguing potential target" for AstraZeneca.
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