Dow futures were up 75 points in Wednesday's pre-opening trading, and it appeared stocks were going to have a good day following a rally in European markets. But earnings and news from Macy’s cut the legs off the rally. Macy’s missed earnings badly, citing too-warm weather and a shortfall in buying by international travelers.
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Consequently, Macy’s stock fell 14%. But Macy’s did have some good news for consumers. Macy’s CEO, Terry J. Lundgren, said the store overstocked inventories and would be giving huge discounts over the Christmas selling season. Retail analysts were quick to predict other retailers will have to do the same. Lundgren wasn’t overtly downbeat on the outlook for Christmas sales, but he did not sound optimistic.
From an economic perspective, the Macy’s news could be bad for the economic outlook, but we can’t jump to that conclusion just yet. Consumers are continuing to change how and what they buy — i.e., they're buying online and searching for distinct gifts. Maybe people are just tired of Macy’s and similar stores, but the forecast from Macy’s does cast doubt on the outlook for Christmas sales.