U.S. indices were all down during midday trading Thursday. But crude oil prices were rising by nearly 4% -- and almost all oil stocks were following suit, seeing big gains.
Chesapeake Energy (CHK) shares were surging by more than 11% after the U.S. Energy Information Administration released some bullish data. Crude inventories fell 14.5 million barrels for the week ending Sept. 2, the largest one-week draw since January 1999. Tropical Storm Hermine, which threatened the Gulf Coast region, likely contributed to some of that -- so this desperately needed drawdown may just be only for that week.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) stock was taking a hit Thursday, slipping by nearly 15% as the home décor and furniture retailer posted weaker-than-expected preliminary fiscal 2017 second-quarter results -- something a little different than what we saw from other bricks-and-mortar retailers. The retailer reported a loss of 5 to 6 cents per share, wider than Wall Street's estimates of 3 cents per share. Net sales for the period fell approximately 6.7% year over year, which was also wider than estimates of a 6% sales loss. On top of everything, CEO Alex Smith is stepping down at the end of the year.
Shares of Tractor Supply (TSCO) fell about 16% after the home improvement retailer cut its sales guidance, now expecting revenue in a range of $6.7 billion to $6.75 billion for the year, down from prior estimates of $6.8 billion to $6.9 billion. Tractor Supply operates roughly 15,000 stores in the U.S., with a focus on recreational farmers and ranchers. The company noted in a post-market report Tuesday that a number of "economic headwinds" have begun to erode consumer spending, specifically pointing to the slide in crude oil weighing on customers in energy-producing regions, sales across the agricultural industry in a general decline, and lower demand in heating-related products such as wood stoves and fuel.
Finally, Rite Aid (RAD) shares jumped more than 5% on heavy trading volume after Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) said the companies would sell more than 500 overlapping stores to help speed up their pending deal. Both companies said they are "actively engaged" with the Federal Trade Commission to address potential issues with Walgreens acquisition of Rite Aid. Walgreens expects the $17 billion transaction will close by year's end. (Walgreens is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio).