Lowe’s posted early gains Wednesday after reporting strong Q1 results. (TNS/Newscom) – Investor’s Business Daily

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Stock futures deepened their early losses approaching Wednesday’s starting bell, as oil prices eased and retail stocks came under some intense early pressure.

The Dow industrials and Nasdaq 100 futures each dipped 0.3% below fair value. S&P 500 futures traded 0.4% lower on the stock market today.

Major retailers were busy in premarket action, as big-box discounter Target (TGT) and building products giant Lowe’s (LOW) took divergent paths on earnings reports. Target tumbled nearly 8% in premarket moves on a disappointing earnings report, while Lowe’s was up 0.6% after beating views.

Wal-Mart (WMT) sunk to the bottom of the Dow, down more than 3% ahead of its earnings report due out Thursday. Retail stocks showed the six worst premarket losses among S&P 500 stocks, led by Target and Best Buy (BBY). Costco Wholesale (COST) dropped almost 3%, the deepest premarket loss among Nasdaq 100 stocks.

A snapback session on Tuesday left the major indexes narrowly mixed for the week so far — the Nasdaq down, the S&P 500 up — but both below support at their 50-day moving averages. A buildup of distribution days, which indicate selling by institutional investors, has become a key metric pressuring the current market.

Economic news is limited Wednesday: Oil inventories data are due out at 10:30 a.m. ET from the Energy Information Administration. Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s April 27 meeting are scheduled for release at 2 p.m.

Oil prices reversed early gains and edged lower, with West Texas Intermediate holding above $48 a barrel. Gold dipped a fraction, to just above $1,274 an ounce.

Lowe’s added more than 1% after reporting first-quarter revenue and earnings comfortably above analyst projections and issued better-than-expected full-year earnings guidance. The stock ended Tuesday just below a 77.56 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.

Target’s strong first-quarter earnings weren’t enough to compensate for weaker-than-projected same-store-sales. Shares have been falling for five straight weeks.

China-based Vipshop Holdings (VIPS) plunged 13% following its first-quarter report. The online retailers earnings and revenue met consensus views, but second-quarter revenue guidance was below estimates. The stock has been consolidating for 13 months.

Other dramatic moves included liquefied natural gas carrier fleet Dynagas LNG Partners (DLNG), which spiked 20% on Q1 results. Grain distribution chain Andersons (ANDE) vaulted 25% before the open. Hedge fund HC2 Holdings proposed to take the Maumee, Ohio, company private in a deal worth about $1 billion.