Market Focus

Dillard’s 

Disappointing earnings from another retailer. Dillard’s saw its second-quarter profits drop as its margins narrowed. The department store operator blamed increased discounting for the weak performance. Shares slumped, down eight percent to $106.11.

Estee Lauder

It was the opposite story for beauty products maker Estee Lauder. Earnings jumped as the company reported higher sales, helped by new products and growth in both emerging and developed markets. Shares were up just slightly to $76.16.

SuperValu

A possible data breach at SuperValu may have impacted as many as 200 of its grocery and liquor stores. The retailer is investigating the matter and says the breach appears to have taken place from June to July and was possible the results of malicious software installed by hackers. Shares were down nearly three percent to $9.31.

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton is considering a spinoff of some of its non-core assets, which could include its aluminum, manganese and nickle assets. Some estimates say the deals could fetch as much as $14 billion. The stock was up almost two percent to $72.43.

Deere

Deere announced it’s laying off more than 600 workers at four manufacturing plants. This comes as falling grain prices have hurt demand for Deere tractors and other agricultural machinery. On Wednesday, the company announced a drop in third-quarter sales and it cut its profit outlook for the full year. Shares were off slightly to $84.80.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals

Shares of Achillion Phamaceuticals soared today because its hepatitis c drug performed well in a study showing no levels of the virus in patients after four weeks. The drug was used in combination with Gilead Sciences Sovaldi drug, which has a 90 percent success rate, but has been controversial since it costs $1,000 dollars a pill. The stock popped 9.5 percent to $9.25.

SeaWorld

SeaWorld responded today to public criticism of its treatment of killer whales, by announcing it will build a new larger environment for the animals and fund research on them. Attendance at SeaWorld has declined over the issue and on Wednesday the theme park company’s disappointing quarterly results were another casualty of those killer whales. But investors turned positive on SeaWorld, the stock jumped more than 3.5 percent to $18.66.

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