After Market: Weak Earnings from Discounters = Good Holiday Deals for You


Some big name retailers posted weak results Thursday, but that could lead to more bargains for consumers when holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.

It was 41 years ago today, in November 1972, that the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) crossed the 1,000 mark for the first time. It closed Thursday at 15,876, as both the Dow and the S&P 500 moved deeper into record territory. The Dow rose 54, the S&P 500 (^GPSC) gained 8, and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) added 7 points.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) was the biggest loser among the three major averages. It tumbled 11 percent on a disappointing earnings report and weak guidance, which weighed on other tech stocks as well.

Blue shopping carts in a Walmart store parking lot North America

Walmart (WMT) and Kohl's (KSS) also turned in disappointing report cards. Walmart cut its outlook, saying its customers continue to struggle economically. Same story for Kohl's –- sales were weak and the holiday season outlook wasn't too good either. Walmart shares edged higher, but Kohl's slid 8 percent.

But here's the good news. Stores such as Walmart, Target (TGT), J.C. Penney (JCP) and others that cater to low and middle income Americans, are likely to cut prices by even more than they had planned, in an effort to salvage the holiday season.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%On the upside, healthcare stocks gained after President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies can continue to offer existing policies next year, even if they don't meet the standards of the Obamacare law. UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), Wellpoint (WELP), Magellan (MGLN), and Humana (HUM) all gained about 1 percent.

Elsewhere, Amazon (AMZN)rose 3 percent following an upbeat web services conference. CEO Jeff Bezos says new projects will eventually bring in more revenue than its retail business. Over the past year, Amazon shares have gained 65 percent.

On the downside, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) fell 5 percent. The computer maker halted sales of the Chromebook 11 following reports that its charger has been overheating.

SeaWorld (SEAS) shares are underwater, down 6 percent. The theme park operator posted weak revenue.

And Lululemon (LULU) fell 4 percent. The brokerage firm Sterne Agee cut its rating on the stock to "underperform."

- Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.