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Industry Stock Index Inches Higher

Post-Thanksgiving doldrums had Wall Street worried for the good first half of December. As the trading session ended Dec. 31, 2013, markets turned positive as uncertainty was tempered with action from the Federal Reserve.

The Hardware Retailing Stock Index gained 27.01 points, or 2.13 percent, and closed at 1293.89. Advancing issues easily outpaced declining issues by a 14-to-3 count.

Across sectors, orders for durable goods were up 3.5 percent in November, and though new home sales fell, the government upwardly revised numbers for the previous three months, and homebuilding stocks rose. Core capital goods, a category representing business investment, gained at the strongest rate in 10 months. The Commerce Department reported consumer sentiment also rose to a five-month high.

U.S. business stockpiles rose 0.7 percent in October, the largest improvement since January 2013. The National Federation of Independent Business said its optimism index was up 0.9 points, to 92.5. In mid-month, the Federal Reserve bankers announced reduction of the stimulus program by $10 billion, and markets were further bolstered by news that the U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.1 percent in the third quarter, setting up Wall Street for its strongest week in three months.

The Housing Market Index in mid-December showed starts of single-family homes increasing 20.8 percent in November, to 727,000 units, while the National Association of Home Builders released its December index, up 4 points, to 58, from the November report.

December closed with the S&P 500 Index marking its best year since 1997; the Dow Jones industrial average rose the most since 1995.

Tractor Supply Company (TSCO) rose 4.37 points, or 5.97 percent, and closed at 77.58. The company was added to the NASDAQ-100 Index at market open on Dec. 23, 2013. After appointment to the index, TSCO notched a few new 52-week highs, topping out at 78.17. TSCO was the top dollar gainer.

Sears Holdings fell 14.49 points, or 22.81 percent, after news that Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, through his hedge fund ESL Partners, distributed 7.4 million shares of Sears stock in a move to meet end-of-year requests for redemptions, as well as plans to spin off the company’s Lands’ End unit. “It makes you question the value of what Sears is sitting on,” said Belus Capital Advisors analyst Brian Sozzi. “It may have to continue dismembering itself to stay alive today and shrink from inside out.”

Shares of Beazer Homes (BZH) jumped 3.61 points, or 17.35 percent. Investment bank Compass Point increased its price target on BZH to $24, from $15.50. However, FBN Securities cut its rating on Beazer to “underperform,” from “sector perform.” BZH closed at 24.42, and was the top percentage gainer.


The Hardware Retailing Stock Index is a customized index which reports the stock activity of the leading home improvement retailers, manufacturers and builders influencing the industry. It is published monthly in Hardware Retailing magazine and on hardwareretailing.com. Use these quantitative metrics for a benchmark to compare your business’s operational performance. Please anticipate a two-month lag time for data reporting and collection. 

The Hardware Retailing Stock Index includes the following tickers: BLDR, BZH, BXC, HD, LOW, LL, MAS, MHO, NWL, PHM, SMG, SHLD, SHW, SWK, TSCO, VAL and WDFC.


About Jaime Koch

Jaime Koch was the managing editor of Hardware Retailing Magazine. Jaime regularly traveled around the country and internationally to visit with retailers and share their stories. Jaime was honored by the American Society of Business Publishers for Editorial Excellence.

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