Stocks Shake Off Jobs Number in Late Surge (APOL, UPS, GPN, LWSN, MEI)
Stocks looked headed for yet another mixed day, but a late-day surge pushed all the major market indexes into the black. Stocks largely shook off a poor jobs report, but as we said yesterday, the market probably doesn’t want economic news that appears too good. It really wants that fine line of improvement but not enough improvement to warrant rate hikes.
Stocks closed out the week higher, led by a 17-point, or 0.7% gain, in the Nasdaq to 2,317. The Dow ended up 11 points to 10,618, while the S&P added 3 points to close at 1,145. Oil edged up 9 cents to $82.75 a barrel, while gold rose $5.50 to $1,139.20 an ounce.
December’s job report topped today’s headlines, as the Labor Department reported that -85,000 jobs were lost during the month. Economists were expecting a flat jobs market. The November number was revised to a gain of 4,000 compared to an earlier loss of -11,000. The unemployment rate remained at 10.0% in December.
In earnings news, University of Phoenix owner Apollo Group (APOL) saw its fiscal Q1 profit rise 33% to $240.1 million, or $1.54 per share, from $180.4 million, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier. Adjusted EPS came in at $1.47, a penny ahead of estimates. Revenue rose 31% to $1.27 billion, just ahead of estimates. The stock fell -5.4%, however, as the company also announced it received a U.S. Department of Education report containing six findings and one concern. Twenty-four Pro investors counted the stock among their top-15 holdings at the start of Q4, while 187 tickerspy members included the stock in their portfolios.
United Parcel Service (UPS) shares rose 4.8% after the package delivery company lifted its fiscal Q4 earnings forecast. The company now anticipates posting EPS of between 73-75 cents per share, up from prior expectations of 58-65 cents. The company also announced that it would eliminate 1,800 management and administrative jobs. Forty-four Pro investors counted the stock among their top-15 holdings at the start of Q4, while 309 tickerspy members included the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Global Payments (GPN) fell -5.9% despite the electronics payment processor beating earnings estimates and raising its full-year guidance. For fiscal Q2, the company earned $62.8 million, or 76 cents per share, up 28% from $48.9 million, or 60 cents a share, last year. EPS from continuing operations was 71 cents, 10 cents ahead of estimates. Revenue climbed 12% to $408.9 million, just shy of the $411.0 consensus. For the full fiscal year, the company raised its EPS from continuing operations guidance to $2.35-$2.46 from $2.31-$2.42.
Accounting and human-resources management software maker Lawson Software (LWSN) posted a fiscal Q2 profit of $2.8 million, or 2 cents per share, down -7% from $3.0 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS came in at 9 cents, in line with the Wall Street consensus. Revenue dipped -11% to $184.4 million. For fiscal Q3, the company guided for EPS of between 7-9 cents versus the consensus of 10 cents. The company also announced that it was buying Healthvision Solutions Inc. for $160 million in cash. The stock fell -8.6%.
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