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Stock Indexes Down, But Three Groups Show Strength | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

U.S. stock indexes retreated modestly midday Thursday, but there were pockets of strength in apparel, lodging and market research stocks.

X Volume was running below average on both major exchanges. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively, while the Dow Jones industrial average trimmed 0.4%.

In the apparel group, Ralph Lauren (RL), PVH Corp. (PVH) and VF Corp. (VFC) each posted a new high.

Lodging stocks also checked with strong price-and-volume action in today’s market.

Hotel and vacation rental company Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) gapped up 5% in vigorous volume. The stock scored a new high. While Wyndham is expected to post 5% earnings growth when 2017 results are released, the Street sees 18% growth this year.

Hotel chain La Quinta (LQ) gapped up 5% Wednesday and added a 3.5% gain midday Thursday. The stock scored a new high both days. The Street expects earnings to drop 31% in 2017 and then rise 24% this year.

In the market-research space, Morningstar (MORN) broke out of a bullish four-weeks-tight pattern. The stock rose about 3% in heavy volume, clearing a 99.21 buy point.

Two other stocks in the research niche were either showing life or nearing a buy point.

Realty information provider CoStar Group (CSGP) jumped 4% in busy volume. The stock hung a new high and is too extended to buy. The Street sees 2017 earnings growth coming in at 10% but picking up to 33% growth in 2018.

Underwriting data provider Verisk Analytics (VRSK) is approaching a 98.70 buy point in a flat pattern. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned shares of the stock as of Q3, the most recent ownership disclosures.

Meanwhile, Congress is trying to reach a budget agreement before a midnight Friday deadline. If an agreement is not reached before the deadline, some government offices will be shut down.

Economic Reports

First-time jobless claims checked in at 220,000, about 12% fewer than expected. The Street’s consensus view was for 250,000.

Housing permits in December did little more than match views. The 1.302 million figure was barely above the consensus estimate of 1.3 million. Meanwhile, housing starts were pegged at 1.192 million, about 7% fewer than views for 1.28 million.

The Philadelphia Fed’s outlook survey for January fell about 11% shy of views. The consensus view was for a reading of 25, but the number came in at 22.2. The survey is considered an indicator of manufacturing trends.

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