What's moving markets today: March 6, 2019

12:54 p.m. ET, March 6, 2019

Chico's is closing as many as 80 stores this year

Women's store Chico's (CHS) is the latest mall retailer to find itself in trouble.

  • Shares are down nearly 5% after a gloomy earnings report.
  • Its fourth-quarter sales decreased 3.8% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • The company, which also owns Black House White Market and Soma, is closing between 60 and 80 stores this year.
  • In total, 250 stores will close over the next three years.
11:12 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

GE's stock is down — again

Shares of GE (GE) aren't out of the woods yet, per our Paul R. La Monica:

The stock has crumbled over the past two days.

11:07 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

Jack Daniel's maker is getting hit hard by tariffs

Tariffs are bringing down liquor-maker Brown Forman.

The company, which sells whiskey, tequila, vodka and other liquors, reported that net sales grew 3% to $904 million in the three months that ended in January when compared with the same period last year. That growth missed analyst expectations.

The company said it believes tariffs on American spirits had a 1% drag on its sales.

CFO Jane Morreau said that Brown-Forman (BFB) saw a $125 million annualized cost from tariffs last year, before the company took any mitigative actions like changing prices or inventory in affected regions. She called tariffs a "substantial burden" on the business.

Shares of the company fell about 6.5% mid-morning Wednesday on the news.

10:54 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

US markets open flat

The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all barely budged at the open on a quiet Tuesday.

The US trade deficit grew to $60 billion in December, according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

That contributed to an overall deficit of $621 billion in 2018, the agency said — a $69 billion increase from the year before. It’s also a 10-year high. Since Trump took office, the deficit has grown by more than $100 billion, the Census Bureau reported.

Shares of Dollar Tree (DLTR), the discount retailer, were up nearly 3% after the company announced it would close nearly 400 Family Dollar stores and rebrand another 200 as Dollar Tree locations.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) popped 17% after the company reported solid fourth-quarter earnings. The company has been giving itself a makeover to reverse once-declining sales.

10:54 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

Trade deficit hits a 10-year high

The US trade deficit grew to $60 billion in December, according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

That contributed to an overall deficit of $621 billion in 2018, the agency said — a $69 billion increase from the year before. It’s also a 10-year high. Since Trump took office, the deficit has grown by more than $100 billion, the Census Bureau reported.

That’s despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to revive American manufacturing and reduce dependence on imported goods including steel and other materials.

That means that the United States is importing more in goods and services than it sells abroad — despite two years of Trump's "America First" policies.

The President has put tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, as well on most foreign steel and aluminum, solar panels and washing machines. They were meant to make US-made goods cheaper than foreign competitors' and incentivize consumers to buy American.

But while a majority of the tariffs went into effect in the last half of the year, the goods deficit in December rose $9 billion, partly because of a rush to import goods ahead of a potential additional tariff increase by the administration.

9:14 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

Abercrombie & Fitch is once again cool

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) doesn't need scantily clad models to lure in shoppers anymore:

  • The company has been in the process ditching its famous logos from its clothes and designing trendier and sleeker clothes. It's giving stores a makeover to reverse its once-declining sales.
  • The teen retailer's shares are popped more than 12% in premarket trading after it posted a solid fourth-quarter earnings report.
  • Last year's total sales increased 3% to $3.6 billion, which was above analysts' expectations.
  • Hollister's sales last year grew 5% and Abercrombie increased 1%.
8:34 a.m. ET, March 6, 2019

Dollar Tree is closing hundreds of Family Dollar stores

Dollar Tree (DLTR) shares are surging more than 5% after beating on earnings.

The company issued a mixed guidance for the year ahead because of uncertainties around tariffs, and announced a major change to its Family Dollar brand.

It will close 390 Family Dollar stores and rebrand another 200 of the stores as Dollar Tree, The company said it will renovate another 1,000 Family Dollar stores.

Dollar Tree said it took a $2.73 billion goodwill charge against the value of Family Dollar last year after paying $9 billion to purchase it in 2005.