Wall St ends higher, Cisco Systems shares jump

STORY: U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Thursday as investors dumped the latest meme-stock to lose momentum and continued to parse retailers’ earnings for clues on the direction of consumer spending.

The Dow rose fractionally, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq only gained about two tenths of a percent.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 19.63% percent, after billionaire and activist investor Ryan Cohen disclosed plans to sell his entire stake in the struggling retailer, following a stunning rally this month.

Also losing ground was Kohl's, which fell 7.72% after the retailer cut its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

The news followed a disappointing report on Wednesday from Target, which continued its slide on Thursday.

Anxiety over the Federal Reserve’s next move is also weighing on markets.

Liz Miller, president of Summit Place Financial Advisors, said she still expects the Fed to keep moving aggressively, despite some forecasting a smaller rate hike.

“We still think there's a good chance the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates 75-basis points in September. Now, I'm not sure that's what we think the Fed should do. I think that these rates move with such a lag at least six months that we're already just seeing the first results of the early rates hikes. And indeed, we have one data point of inflation coming down... But I think the consensus is they're going to raise, again, 0.75%, trying to really, very strongly get ahead of inflation, even if that does mean more damage to the economy going forward.”

Helping Wall Street post a gain on Thursday were shares of Cisco, which rose nearly 6% after the company provided an upbeat sales forecast late on Wednesday.

That helped lift the tech sector, with shares of chipmaker Nvidia gaining more than 2%.