U.S. stocks started lower on Thursday thanks to a rally in the U.S. dollar. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 64 points to 10,361. The S&P 500 Index declined 9 points to 1,100. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 21 points to 2,171. I hate to say it, but the market over the last several weeks has moved lock in step with the U.S. dollar. A number of retailers keep reporting earnings. The numbers are better than expected, but the outlook is mixed. Ross Stores, William Sonoma, Childrens Place, Sears, Gymboree, Petsmart, Dicks, and Hot Topic are all lower following earnings. Dicks and Hot Topic are both down over 10% this morning. Chicos and Best Buy were upgraded this morning, yet both are lower. Gamestop and Whole Foods are modestly higher on upgrades. In the tech sector Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch downgraded the chip stocks sending that sector lower. Intel and Texas Instruments are both down over 4%. AMD received two upgraded, yet the stock is lower by 3%. NetAppliance is trading higher after easily beating estimates. The commodities are lower as well thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar. After the first half an hour the Dow declined over 130 points. The Nasdaq declined 40 points. In the afternoon, more of the same. In the last hour the averages recovered a little bit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 93 points, or 0.9%, to close at 10,332. The S&P 500 Index dropped 14 points, or 1.3%, to 1,094, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index declined 36 points, or 1.7%, to close at 2,156.
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