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Macy's Blasts Higher While AT&T and Verizon Fall

By Matt Thalman – Jan 9, 2014 at 1:00PM

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Major indexes fall again as investors await tomorrow's key jobs report.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

After yesterday's better-than-expected ADP jobs number, the weekly initial jobless claims report came in today right where economists had predicted, at 330,000 for the week ended Jan. 4. But the prior week was revised upward to 345,000 and the four-week moving average is now at 349,000. Most economists believe that a jobless claim figure in the low 300,000s is a sign of normal economic activity and job churn. So while these figures aren't great, they weren't terrible, either.

Most investors are waiting for tomorrow's jobs report from the Labor Department, which shouldn't be too far off from what we saw with the ADP report. The Federal Reserve will use the Labor Department figures to make future decisions on further tapering its asset purchase program.

The waiting and uncertainty about what investors will see tomorrow is putting downward pressure on the major indexes today. At 1 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.45%) is off by six points, or 0.04%, while the S&P 500 is up by 0.03% and the Nasdaq is down 0.12%.

Two of the Dow's top losers today are AT&T (T -1.57%) and Verizon (VZ -2.00%), which have fallen 1.87% and 1.78%, respectively. The move comes after T-Mobile (TMUS -0.76%) announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will pay some or all of the early termination fees for customers who move over to its wireless service from competitors such as AT&T or Verizon. Some believe this will cause a flood of subscriber defections from the two industry top dogs, as customers may have wanted to leave their provider, only to be held back by the hefty penalty. Telecom investors need to follow this closely, and focus on subscriber growth at T-Mobile and what that growth is costing them, while keeping an eye on defections at the other two companies.

Outside the Dow, shares of Macy's (M -2.16%) are having an extraordinary day, up more than 7.5%. The move comes after management gave investors the full 2014 revenue and earnings forecast late Wednesday. Both earnings and sales figures were in line with analysts expectations. Management also raised its previously supplied forecast for 2015. In addition, the company said sales rose 4.3% during the 2013 holiday shopping season . And lastly, management is planning to close five stores and lay off an estimated 2,500 people this spring in the effort to cut $100 million from its annual costs.  

Macy's announcement sparked a number of upgrades this morning from analysts. BMO Capital changed its rating from market perform to outperform and increased its price target from $53 to $70. JPMorgan Chase also increased its price target, from $52 to $60, and reiterated its overweight rating on the stock.  

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513

The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$33,849.46 (-1.45%) $-497.57
AT&T Stock Quote
$18.82 (-1.57%) $0.30
T-Mobile US Stock Quote
T-Mobile US
$149.90 (-0.76%) $-1.15
Verizon Communications Stock Quote
Verizon Communications
$38.24 (-2.00%) $0.78
Macy's Stock Quote
$23.14 (-2.16%) $0.51

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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