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Amazon's Win, La-Z-Boy's Loss, Corporate Drama, the Fed, and the Wall Street Week in Review

Now that the excitement of the early World Cup rounds has worn off and you realize how boring scoreless soccer games are, check out what sent stocks down over the past week.

1. Stock market winners ...
If you like flashy, entertaining presentations, then you must have been a big fan of's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) big unveiling last week. The company that sells everything introduced its first ever smartphone, the Fire, which features a 3-D camera that can identify goods and then help you buy them instantly (if you have an impulsive streak).

How did investors react? They bought up Amazon stock like they were Amazon Prime customers, giving it a 2.7% boost on Wednesday following the announcement. The device is meant to compete with Apple and Samsung's smartphones and will be available on AT&T for $100 less than a competitive iPhone. Awkwaaaard.

Keep in mind that treading water with the big boys of the smartphone market ain't easy -- just look at how Microsoft and BlackBerry have drowned. But Amazon's goal is ultimately market share -- plus, the company is trying to revolutionize the way we buy just about everything, with the simple flick of a smartphone screen.
2. ... And stock market losers
Summer days are great for lying out in skimpy beach chairs, but if there's one thing we miss about the winter, it's settling down in a fat ol' leather couch. Too bad most consumers don't feel that way about the goods from La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB  ) . The hefty-furniture manufacturer announced an unimpressive 1% drop in same-store sales over the past quarter, despite an 11% jump in those sales during the same period last year.

It's not the design or the fact that Americans are moving on to more comfortable home furnishings. In fact, the major issue for La-Z-Boy seems to be with one of its once-growing product lines: bookcases. Those "casegoods" take up about 10% of the company's revenue, but La-Z-Boy has been transitioning where it actually makes these things. As the company moves to an all-import model, the costs have added up, and they're weighing on the 'Boy as demand for its bookcases waned.

Although the mediocre sales and the unfortunate casegoods issue aren't good things to write home to mom about, investors had other concerns on their minds. Mainly, La-Z-Boy's sales are expected to slow so much during this next summer quarter that the company will shut down its U.S. manufacturing plants for a whole week.

3. Corporate drama
The board of American Apparel finally fired its creepy CEO, Dov Charney, after years of awkward sexual harassment lawsuits. Meanwhile, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) will get a free pass from New Jersey lawmakers around an old law that prevented it from selling its electric cars directly to consumers through fancy-schmancy "showrooms."

4. The Fed's big policy announcement
The Federal Reserve doesn't take summer vacations -- and the Fed's Open Market Committee just announced its most recent policy decisions, highlighting two key points. First, the central bank acknowledged that the U.S. economy is improving faster than it was earlier in the year. And second, because the recovery continues, the Fed will slow its quantitative easing stimulus policy, reducing its monthly purchases of long-term bonds (which keep interest rates low to encourage borrowing) down to $35 billion. Investors were just happy to hear that the stock-supportin' stimulus isn't all gone.

As originally published on

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9/3/2015 3:59 PM
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