The Barron’s 400 Index (B400) dropped 2.39 points to 446.37 Wednesday, down 0.53 percent, taking a cue from the broader stock market that declined on uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s stimulus intentions.
Retailers were on the radar screen for a second straight day. B400 components American Eagle Outfitters, Petsmart and Target fell on weak results amid concerns over the health of consumer pocketbooks.
The B400 is up 22.0 percent year-to-date, topping some other major indexes.
American Eagle (AEO) sank 9.92 percent to $14.76 after posting disappointing earnings. The teen fashion retailer was down as much as 12 percent during the session on a bleak outlook. The company acknowledged slow store traffic and heavy competition.
Petsmart lost 5.31 percent to $71.02. New CEO David Lenhardt said he sees third quarter EPS of 83 cents to 87 cents per share versus a Capital IQ consensus of 87 cents.
Rex Energy (REXX) fell 4.66 percent to $20.27, and Target (TGT) lost 3.58 percent to $65.52 after warning annual profits may be at the low end of its forecast on account of a slowdown in consumer spending. RW Baird downgraded Target to neutral from outperform.
In the broader market, the Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 105 points to 14,898. The Nasdaq lost 14 points to 3,600 and the S&P 500 fell 9 points to 1,643.
The B400 was helped by energy stocks. CVR Energy (CVI) gained 2.90 percent to $43.49 and Tesoro Corp. (TSO) rose 2.38 percent to $47.81.
The biggest percentage gainer on the B400 was volatile Questcor (QCOR), which climbed 4.57 percent to $67.92. Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the biotech firm to buy from neutral with a price target of $80.
TASER International (TASR) rose 2.94 percent to $11.19. The stock has traded on strong volume through five sessions. The company announced new orders for its stun guns.
The release of the Fed’s July minutes Wednesday did little to ease a cloudy picture of when the central bank may begin trimming its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases that have helped put a safety net under financial markets.