Earnings Could Propel Bulls Past Skeptics (STZ, BTH, SJR, ATLS, VIT)
Stocks closed just short on some nice round benchmark numbers, with the Dow less than 3 points from 11,000, the S&P under 6 points away from 1,200, and the Nasdaq less than 50 points from 2,500. Despite the market’s steady assent the past year, there is still a lot of skepticism over the market and the economy. Part of the reason might be that the “it’s different this time crowd” that helped push the market lower just can’t admit that the economic recovery is moving in a pretty text book way. Expectations for earnings next week are heightened, but we’re anticipating some pretty solid results and for the bull to run a little longer.
Stocks rose to close out the week, with the Dow climbing 70 points to 10,997. The S&P rose 8 points to 1,184, while the Nasdaq jumped 17 points to 2,454. Oil slipped -47 cents to $84.92 a barrel, while gold increased $8.90 to $1,161.10 an ounce.
In earnings news, shares of Constellation Brands (STZ) fell -2.5% after the wine and spirits maker issued weak guidance. For fiscal Q4, the company lost -$51.0 million, or -23 cents per share, versus a loss of -$406.8 million, or -$1.88 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS came in at 27 cents, 3 cents above estimates. Sales dropped -4% to $708.7 million. Looking forward, the company forecast current fiscal-year adjusted EPS of $1.53-$1.68, well below the $1.77 Wall Street consensus. Three pro investors counted the stock among their top-15 holdings at the start of Q1, while 68 tickerspy members included the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Blyth Industries (BTH) soared 45.2% after the home fragrance and candle maker’s earnings crushed analyst estimates. For fiscal Q4, the company posted a profit of $31.8 million, or $3.57 per share, up from $13.3 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier. Adjusted EPS was $3.60, well ahead of the $2.00 consensus. Revenue rose 3% to $322.4 million. For fiscal 2011, the company guided for EPS of $3.20-$3.50 versus estimates of $2.25.
Canadian cable firm Shaw Communications (SJR) reported fiscal Q2 earnings of C$138.7 million, or 32 Canadian cents a share, down -11% from C$156.6 million, or 36 Canadian cents per share, last year. Revenue climbed 11% to C$929.1 million. Analysts were looking for EPS of 33 cents Canadian on sales of C$926.2 million. The stock rose 1.1%.
Atlas Energy (ATLS) shares jumped 20.3% after the oil and gas company entered into $1.7 billion joint venture with Indian energy giant Reliance Industries. Reliance will pay Atlas $340 million in cash and 75% of Atlas’ portion of drilling and completion costs, or $1.36 billion, for 120,000 net acres in the Marcellus shale. The companies have agreed to drill 45 horizontal wells for the joint venture for the remainder of 2010, increasing to 108 wells in 2011, 178 wells in 2012, and 300 wells in 2013 and 2014. Ten pro investors counted the stock among their top-15 holdings at the start of Q1, while 57 tickerspy members included the stock in their portfolios.
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