After a brutal 167-point drop yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI)was down by 10 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a lower start to the stock market today. Even another big drop would leave stocks close to all-time highs, though. The Dow is sitting at less than 2% below the record it set earlier this week.
Today's calendar is light on big-name quarterly earnings reports, but markets could get some direction from new consumer confidence figures due out later this morning. Economists expect the University of Michigan's confidence index to rise slightly to 84.5 from April's reading of about 84. That April result was one of the best in years, and any further improvement would point to stronger economic growth ahead.
Nordstrom booked strong quarterly earnings results last night. The retailer's comparable-store sales grew by 3.9%, driven by a 33% surge in its online business. That boost helped Nordstrom generate a surprising profit of $0.72 a share, roughly even with last year's result. The 20% bounce in sales at Nordstrom Rack was also encouraging, as that business saw very healthy comparable-store sales growth of over 6%.
Still, Nordstrom wasn't immune to the tough retail environment: markdowns pushed gross profit lower by more than 1 percentage point to 35.8% of sales. The company reiterated its full-year outlook for an overall sales boost of 6.5% and a very slight decrease in profit. Nordstrom's stock was up nearly 10% in pre-market trading.
Canadian Solar's shares were down nearly 10% in pre-market trading after the company posted solid first-quarter earnings results but gave a weak forecast for the quarter ahead. Sales leapt by 78% to $466 million on a big spike in solar module shipments. That revenue figure was significantly above the $431 million that analysts were expecting. Profit of $0.07 a share, meanwhile, was below Wall Street's anticipation of earnings of $0.12 a share. However, investors appear to be more worried about Canadian Solar's near-term sales outlook. The company forecast revenue of $575 million for the current quarter, well below the $633 million that analysts were expecting.
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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.