Market update: Walmart surges on Q4 earnings

This week in the market

  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released its January meeting minutes, which suggested the Federal Reserve would likely continue to exercise patience when it comes to monetary policy.
  • Walmart’s online sales were up 43% in the fourth-quarter of 2018, surprising analysts and giving brands like Amazon some major competition.
  • Payless plans to close all of its 2,100 US stores in the coming months.

The Fed continues to practice patience

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released minutes on Wednesday from its January meeting. The FOMC meets eight times per year, approximately once every six weeks, to discuss key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the US money supply. Minutes from the January meeting reiterated that the Fed would continue to practice patience when it comes to monetary policy and interest rate hikes. Committee officials also discussed the impact on the economy of the ongoing trade negotiations between the US and China. These negotiations also had an impact on major US market indexes this week.

President Trump had previously imposed a deadline of March 1 for a finalized trade deal with China. Without an agreement by that date, tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products would increase from 10% to 25%. At Thursday’s close the S&P 500 was down 0.35%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 0.40%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.39% as investors waited nervously to hear any new developments. However, for the week, all three major US market indexes were in the positive — and the crowd goes wild!

Walmart online sales up 43% surprising many analysts

Walmart reported its fourth-quarter earnings report for 2018, and it was much stronger than analysts expected. The retail giant’s e-commerce sales increased by 43%, thanks to many shoppers using its online grocery and curbside delivery service — getting out of the car is so overrated. Walmart’s shares were up more than 4% after the report was released. Moving forward, Walmart plans to invest heavily in growing online instead of opening up physical stores, which could give brands like Amazon a run for their money. Sounds like good news for you, MoneyLion investors, as Walmart is part of the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) in which you’re invested (as of 2/21/2019)!

Payless plans to close all US stores

Payless will close all 2,100 locations throughout the US and Puerto Rico in the coming months. The discount shoe store first filed for bankruptcy in April 2017 when it initially closed approximately 400 store locations. The rise in online shopping has lead to a drop in foot traffic and the closing of brick-and-mortar retailers like Toys “R” Us, Brookstone, and Charlotte Russe. American malls continue to die off slowly. Who’s next … Auntie Anne’s Pretzels?

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