Stocks rallied for the second session in a row, in a broad advance just a day ahead of the closely watched jobs report. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks surging for the second day in a row. Data suggesting a tighter labor market and hopes for more aggressive action by the European Central Bank spurred buying. Just one day before the monthly jobs report, weekly jobless claims fell slightly from the prior week. In corporate earnings, the struggling teen retail sector delivered a brighter outlook after a good holiday season. American Eagle upped its quarterly profit forecast, and Aeropostale expects to lose less money than it had initially estimated. Thomson Reuters retail analyst Jharonne Martis says that bodes well for discretionary spending overall. SOUNDBITE: JHARONNE MARTIS, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The fact that American Eagle and Aeropostale came out with better outlooks today suggest there's an improvement and also the fact that parents are feeling better about giving their kids $100 for distressed jeans. So it shows that consumer sentiment is definitely improving." But discount retailer Family Dollar's profits got creamed, widely missing Wall Street's targets. Same-store sales fell, and the shift from a focus on promotions to an everyday-low-price strategy cut into its bottom line. And after the market closed on Thursday, Macy's announcing a major restructuring, putting pressure on its shares in after hours trading. Robust beer sales helped Constellation Brands boost profit and beat estimates. The alcoholic beverage giant behind brands like Modelo Especial and Corona boosted its full year outlook. Investors wiped out nearly half of Apollo Education's share gains from October. Disappointing them: fewer students enrolled at the for-profit operator of colleges, and profit plunged. Kate Spade stock sank on a downgrade from BMO Capital. It says the company has increased promotions amid heated competition, and slower growth in accessories could also hurt Kate Spade. In Europe, a rally in retail stocks and dovish minutes from the Federal Reserve helped push shares higher.