Nov 20, 2018

The stock market rout spreads to big box retail

Black Friday at Target in 2016. Photo: Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Target shares fell as much as 11% this morning after it narrowly missed analyst expectations for the quarter, as massive selling took all three major U.S. stock indices underwater for the year.

The big picture: In trading this morning, the Dow, the S&P and Nasdaq all wiped out their gains for the year. Retail stocks were hit hard just three days before Black Friday, the biggest brick-and-mortar shopping event of the year.

The other side: Many traditional retailers have reported strong sales growth quarter after quarter this year — Target reported today that sales surged 5.1% in the third quarter, for example.

  • The National Retail Federation projects U.S. holiday spending this season to reach an all-time high. It says Americans will spend 4.1% more this year than last.

The bottom line: Markets are jittery amid the U.S.-driven trade war, slowing global economic growth and a cloud around Big Tech. That U.S. economic fundamentals appear strong has not seemed to matter to Wall Street investors.

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.