Stocks Post Mixed Performance to Cap Off -4.7% August S&P 500 Decline (DSW, DG, DE, EXC, HNZ, TMRAY)
Despite an uptick in home prices and a rise in consumer confidence, stocks ended mixed on the day, as cautious commentary in the FOMC minutes released later in the day put a damper on equities. The day’s flattish results capped a weak August for the markets, with the S&P tumbling -4.7% during the month.
Stocks ended the day mixed, with the Dow up 5 points to 10,015, and the S&P up fractionally to close at 1,049. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, fell -6 points to 2,114. Oil drooped -$2.78 to $71.92 a barrel, while gold added $11.20 to $1,248.30 an ounce.
On the economic front, home prices grew by 1% in June, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. During Q2, the index rose 4.4% after having fallen -2.8% the previous quarter. Economists expect home prices to fall through the rest of 2010. Meanwhile, the Conference Board announced that its consumer confidence index rose to 53.5 from a revised reading of 51.0 in July. This was better than the slight increase expected by analysts, but below a reading of 90 that would indicate a healthy economy.
In earnings news, shares of DSW (DSW) edged down -0.2% despite reports that the shoe retailer’s Q2 net income more than tripled on higher revenue. For the quarter ended July 31st, DSW posted a profit of $23.5 million, or 52 cents a share, up from $7.6 million, or 17 cents a share, last year. The Street was expecting EPS of 47 cents. Revenue rose 12% to $415.1 million, while same-store sales jumped 12%. Looking forward, the company reaffirmed its full-year EPS guidance of $1.80-$1.95, bracketing the $1.94 consensus. DSW is also looking for a 7-9% rise in comparable-store sales for the full year.
Dollar General (DG) boosted its full-year outlook and said its Q2 profit soared more than 50% due in part to higher store traffic. For the quarter, the company earned $141.2 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with $93.6 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS was 42 cents, which topped expectations by 4 cents. Revenue climbed 10.8% to $3.21 billion. Same-store sales rose 5.1%. The discount retailer raised its view for the full year to adjusted EPS of $1.68-$1.74, up from its previous forecast of $1.62-$1.69 and in line with analysts’ projections of $1.72. The company expects revenue to grow between 8.5%-10.5% and to open 600 new stores during the year. Shares of the stock slipped -0.3%.
In M&A news, shares of Deere (DE) moved up 0.5% after the company announced that it will sell its wind energy business for $900 million to Exelon Generation Co., a subsidiary of nuclear power plant operator Exelon (EXC). The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Shares of Exelon rose 0.5%. A total of 39 Pro investors counted Deere in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity holdings at the start of Q3, while over 80 tickerspy members held the stock in their portfolios.
HJ Heinz (HNZ) said that it expects to report Q1 results above expectations as a result of stronger sales, particularly in emerging markets like India and China. For the first quarter, Heinz expects EPS of 75 cents, above the 73-cent consensus. The food maker also reaffirmed its full-year outlook of 3-4% in sales growth with EPS up 7-10%. The stock rose 0.3%. A total of 32 Pro investors counted the stock in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity holdings at the start of Q3, while over 800 tickerspy members held the stock in their portfolios.
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