Stock Market Manages to Stay Steady Despite Rise in Unemployment Claims and Fall in Home Sales

Retail stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ dropped, but the rest of the market remained flat.

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By Andrew Osterland

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Jobless claims last week were higher than expected and new home sales fell 6.9 percent in January, a bigger drop than expected. Neither, however, made much of an impression on investors today.

Stock prices were flat with the Dow index posting a 0.03 percent gain, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes fell 0.09 percent and 0.16 percent respectively. The Entrepreneur Index™ was down 0.14 percent on the day with only thirteen of sixty stocks on the index moving more than one percent in either direction.

Retailers had a tough day in the market with weak earnings and outlook from discount retailer Dollar General hurting sentiment. L Brands had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, falling 3.14 percent. The stock is up just 2.2 percent this year and down 36.5 percent over the last twelve months. Investors may be expecting a more radical restructuring than just the closure of some poorly performing Victoria's Secret stores. The company recently announced it would close 53 outlets this year as the faltering lingerie line continues to lose market share.

Bed Bath & Beyond was also down sharply, closing the day off 2.98 percent. The market has been betting on a turnaround at the beleaguered retailer. But, with the stock up more than 32 percent this year, investors took some profit off the table today.

Other retailers on the Entrepreneur Index™ also posted losses today. Discount chain Dollar Tree Inc. was down 1.86 percent and Gap Inc. declined 1.85 percent. Walmart lost 0.82 percent on the day and Costco Wholesale Group was down 1.07 percent.

Technology stocks were generally lower with Facebook and NVIDIA Corp. posting the biggest declines. Facebook was down 1.85 percent after it experienced a global outage of its main network as well as Instagram for about 24 hours. The company said it was considering refunds to advertisers for the snafu. NVIDIA shares, meanwhile, took a breather from their recent run. They were up nearly 14 percent over the last three days before falling 1.81 percent today. The stock has gained 24 percent so far this year.

Other declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ included Ford Motor Co. (-1.41 percent), Jefferies Financial Group (-1.27 percent) and Wynn Resorts (-1.15 percent).

Clothing-maker Under Armour Inc. had the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, rising just 1.22 percent. Other gains on the index included Universal Health Services (1.08 percent) and Simon Property Group (0.93 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Andrew Osterland

Andrew Osterland is a contributing writer for CNBC.com. He specializes in capital markets, personal finance and taxes.

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