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Stock Market News: Macy's Still Struggles; Mastercard to Lose Its Leader

By Dan Caplinger - Updated Feb 25, 2020 at 2:49PM

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Markets turned downward again on further health fears.

Tuesday morning saw the stock market try to rebound briefly from Monday's 1,000-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrials (^DJI 1.27%), but the bounce proved short-lived. Market participants apparently want to see how the latest outbreaks in different areas of the world develop before they draw any conclusions about the likelihood of containment. As of 11 a.m. EST, the Dow was down 256 points to 27,705. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.73%) fell 15 points to 3,211, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 2.09%) was off 86 points to 9,135.

Earnings continued to come out Tuesday, and investors weren't satisfied with the news from retailer Macy's (M 2.20%) despite what seemed to be solid numbers from its holiday season. For Mastercard (MA 1.05%), the unexpected news of a key corporate departure had some shareholders feeling less confident about the future.

Macy's can't celebrate

Shares of Macy's fell 3% following the department store retailer's release of fourth-quarter financial results. The numbers were somewhat better than many of those following the stock had anticipated, but shareholders still seemed to want more reassurance from the ailing retailer.

Macy's reported a 1.4% drop in revenue during the fourth quarter, with comparable sales falling 0.5% from year-ago levels. Similarly, sales for the full year fell 1.6%. Adjusted pre-tax operating earnings were down 17% for the quarter and 19% year over year.

Despite being disappointed with the year's performance on the whole, Macy's executives called out improving trends that came in the 10 days immediately preceding the Christmas holiday. CEO Jeff Gennette said that Macy's inventory position was good going into the new fiscal year, and the company reiterated its guidance for fiscal 2020.

Macy's has faced numerous threats as conditions in the retail industry more broadly have deteriorated. When even somewhat upbeat numbers get a bad reception from investors, it says a lot about just how downbeat shareholders have become about the prospects for Macy's future.

Mastercard makes changes at the top

Shares of Mastercard, meanwhile, fell 4%. Investors had to deal with not only news surrounding the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the payment network giant's business but also a transition in its executive suite.

Mastercard announced that CEO Ajay Banga will step down at the end of 2020, giving way to the company's current chief product officer, Michael Miebach. Miebach will assume the CEO role at the beginning of 2021, and he'll become company president much sooner, as of March 1.

Banga described the transition as part of Mastercard's move into a "next phase of growth," and he emphasized Miebach's experience in global business. In the exiting CEO's view, Miebach will be able to integrate all the different businesses that Mastercard is pursuing and continue the company's war on cash. Banga will remain as executive chair on the Mastercard board.

Mastercard has enjoyed huge success under Banga's leadership. Even as fears about COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) led Mastercard to cut its revenue outlook for 2020, the company looks poised to keep striving for long-term growth as the world moves further toward cashless transactions.

Dan Caplinger has no position in the stocks mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Mastercard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Mastercard Incorporated Stock Quote
Mastercard Incorporated
$354.27 (1.05%) $3.69
Macy's, Inc. Stock Quote
Macy's, Inc.
$19.96 (2.20%) $0.43
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$33,761.05 (1.27%) $424.38
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$13,047.19 (2.09%) $267.27
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$4,280.15 (1.73%) $72.88

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