Consumer Sector Update for 01/12/2018: YELP,TOUR,WMT,GM,GME,AAPL

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Top Consumer Stocks

WMT +0.83%

MCD +0.10%

DIS +1.40%

CVS -0.56%

KO +0.04%

Consumer stocks were finishing solidly on positive ground, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 Friday reversing a prior decline and climbing about 0.1 higher while shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were riding a more than 1.2% advance.

In industry news:

Headline December retail sales rose 0.4%, advancing for the fourth month in a row and matching expert opinion, while sales excluding autos also climbed 0.4% over the prior month. Already sizable increases in November and October were revised higher.

Among consumer stocks moving on news:

+ Yelp ( YELP ) shares spiked Friday afternoon, climbing more than 4% to a session high of $45.86 a share, carried by market speculation a “major activist” has taken a big stake in the online restaurant and business review platform and will soon push for its sale.

In other sector news:

+ Tuniu ( TOUR ): Board authorizes new stock buyback program to repurchase up to $100 mln of its common stock using its available cash balance. Also promotes vice president Shihong Chen to chief technology officer, effective immediately.

+ Walmart ( WMT ): Says it will take a $0.14 per share charge against its Q4 earnings after confirming plans to close 63 of its Sam’s Club warehouse stores, eliminating about 10,000 jobs across the United States. A dozen of the shuttered clubs will be converted into ecommerce fulfillment centers, starting with a store in Memphis, Tenn.

– Gamestop ( GME ) slumped almost 12% at one point on Friday after the retailer warned it will record a hefty impairment charge against its upcoming Q4 and FY17 financial results, upstaging upbeat holiday sales. It is estimating between $350 mln to $400 mln in charges, blaming longer upgrade cycles for new mobile devices as well as limited availability of Apple’s ( AAPL ) iPhone X. Other metrics were much more positive, including a 10.6% increase in sales to $2.77 bln during the holiday period ended Dec. 30 while comparable store sales rose 11.8%.

– General Motors (GM): Files safety petition with the U.S. Department of Transportation for its fourth-generation Cruise AV self-driving cars, which would be the first production vehicle to be built without a steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls. It hopes to have those cars on the road by 2019.

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