Stocks Shrug Off Lackluster Data (PLL, STLD, NUE, NOVL, MCK)
Stocks had another solid day, as September continues to be a strong month for the markets. Stocks shrugged off some lackluster economic data today, and instead focused on some generally positive commentary from executives making the investment conference rounds. Weekly jobless claims, as well as the Producer Price Index, will be in focus tomorrow, as investors try to get a clearer picture of where the economy is headed.
Stocks rose on the day, with the Dow up 46 points to 10,573. The S&P advanced 4 points to 1,125, while the Nasdaq climbed 12 points to 2,301. Oil slipped -78 cents to $76.02 a barrel, while gold dropped -$3.00 to $1,266.70 an ounce.
On the economic front, the Federal Reserve reported that its “Empire State” general business conditions index fell to 4.14 this month, its lowest level in over a year, from 7.10 in August. Economists had been expecting a reading of 8.0. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve reported that industrial production rose 0.2% in August, just below the 0.3% increase expected by economists.
In earnings news, shares of Pall (PLL) jumped 6.3% after the company’s Q4 EPS topped estimates. For the quarter, the manufacturer earned $54.96 million, or 46 cents a share, down from $69.5 million, or 58 cents a share, last year. Adjusted EPS came in at 72 cents, which easily beat the 64-cent consensus. Revenue grew 4% to $678.6 million. Looking forward, Pall expects adjusted EPS of $2.35-$2.55 for FY11, higher than analyst estimates of $2.31.
Steel Dynamics (STLD) saw its shares edge up 0.8% after the steelmaker announced that its Q3 outlook would fall short of expectations due to lower sales prices and a higher state income tax rate. The company now expects Q3 EPS of 5-10 cents, below the Street’s prediction of 20 cents. A total of 4 Pro investors counted the stock in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity holdings at the start of Q3, while 246 tickerspy members held the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of fellow steelmaker Nucor (NUE) inched down -0.4% on news the company’s Q3 earnings would be negatively impacted by higher scrap metal prices. For the third quarter ending October 2nd, Nucor guided for EPS of 5-10 cents, significantly lower than analyst estimates of 30 cents. A total of 17 Pro investors counted the stock in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity holdings at the start of Q3, while 767 tickerspy members held the stock in their portfolios.
In M&A news, the New York Post, citing unnamed sources, has reported that Novell (NOVL) has tentatively reached a deal to sell itself in two parts to a “strategic buyer” and a private equity firm. In March, investment firm Elliot Associates had offered $5.75-per-share for Novell; a bid that was rejected. Novell moved up 5.9% on the day.
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