Jobless Claims Increase Causing Major Indexes to Drop From Highs

Pandora and Yelp move lower for irrational reasons, while Rite Aid gets a boost from same-store sales figures.

Matt Thalman
Matt Thalman
Apr 3, 2014 at 1:00PM

There were an unexpectedly high number of initial unemployment benefit claims last week -- 326,000, against economists' expectation of 317,000. The prior week's count was revised slightly lower from 311,000 to 310,000, while the four-week moving average rose from 317,750 to 319,500. Following the miss, the major indexes were all lower as of 12:45 p.m. EDT today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was off by 18 points, or 0.11%, the S&P 500 down 0.27%, and the Nasdaq lost 0.98%.

After jumping higher by more than 7% this morning, shares of Pandora Media (NYSE:P) were down 3%. The move higher followed good news on active listeners to the Internet radio service in March. Pandora reported 75.3 million active listeners last month, up from 69.5 million a year earlier. The company also claimed 9.1% of the total U.S. radio listening audience, the first time Pandora was over 9%. Furthermore, listening hours rose from 1.49 billion in March 2013 to 1.71 billion last month. With these kinds of figures it's easy to see why the stock would jump higher, but hard to understand the decline.  

Meanwhile, Yelp (NYSE:YELP) shares tumbled 6%. Today's move is a follow-up from yesterday's 6% decline, which came after the Federal Trade Commission disclosed it had received over 2,000 complaints about the company in the last five years. A Yelp representative also stated the company receives about six subpoenas a month. The complaints and subpoenas typically come from business owners trying to identify a reviewer on the business review website. Investors shouldn't take as a big deal; The count of complaints or subpoenas is nothing in comparison to the number of reviews posted on Yelp.  

Finally, one winner today is Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD), as shares are up 2.4% after the pharmacy chain reported sales results for March. Rite Aid announced that while front-end same-store sales declined by 5%, 4.1% of that could be attributed to Easter falling in April this year, and not March like it did in 2013. The company also noted a 3.5% increase to same-store sales from the pharmacy side of the business as prescription count increased 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. The healthy growth in prescription sales helped investors move past the week front-end sales, but that is an area shareholders should watch in the future.