Investors can expect a positive start for the stock market today: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained 61 points in pre-market trading. World indexes didn't budge much overnight, with European shares lower by 0.20% as of 7:30 a.m EST.
The Federal Reserve today kicks off its two-day rate-setting meeting, after which Chairwoman Janet Yellen is expected to announce that the central bank will continue to carefully scale back its stimulus measures. Yellen is also scheduled tomorrow afternoon give her first press conference since taking up the leadership position of the Fed.
GameStop has a brand new threat on its hands. The video game retailer's stock was down 4.4% in pre-market trading after The Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is jumping into the used video game business. Wal-Mart will soon begin paying customers for pre-owned games and allowing them to apply that cash toward new game purchases, or for any other items within its stores. Despite a successful push into other business categories over the last few years, used game profits remain key to GameStop's bottom line, accounting for almost 25% of earnings. Still, the company has fended off many other challenges to that lucrative business.
Hertz shares are up 0.6% in pre-market trading after the car rental company reported fourth-quarter earnings results and announced plans to break its equipment rental business off into a separate company. Hertz plans to perform the split as a tax free spinoff to shareholders, with much of the $2.5 billion in proceeds set to fund a huge stock buyback of up to 20% of the company's outstanding shares. Separately, Hertz booked a slightly disappointing 10% increase in fourth-quarter sales to $2.6 billion, which resulted in a 20% dip in profit to $0.26 a share.
Finally, DSW said this morning that revenue improved by a slim 3.8% in its fiscal fourth quarter as comparable-store sales growth was flat. The shoe retailer's adjusted profit also fell to $0.31 a share from last year's $0.35 a share. Still, DSW management seems confident in the company's future: The company hiked its dividend by 50% and boosted its outlook for store potential to 525 locations, about 30% greater than its current store footprint. DSW's stock is unchanged in pre-market trading.