The Market Closes Out a Strong Q1 (KMX, MOS, DRYS, LWSN, WTW, CONN)
Stocks had a choppy trading session to close out the month, with the market eventually ending mixed. Overall, the first quarter was a very good one for stocks, with the S&P ending up 5.4%.
The Fitness and Dieting Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Weight Watchers Intl (WTW) with a 5% gain. The Electronics Retailer Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with Conn’s (CONN) down -8%.
Stocks finished the last day of the quarter on a mixed note, with the Nasdaq advancing 4 points to 2,781. The Dow fell -31 points to 12,320, while the S&P slipped -2 points to 1,326. Oil soared $2.54 to $106.72 a barrel, while gold jumped $15.10 to $1,438.90 an ounce.
In economic news, initial jobless claims fell for the third-consecutive week to 388,000 last week from 394,000 the previous week. The four-week moving average jumped by 3,250 claims to 394,250. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 70.6 in March from 71.2 February, but the March reading was still above the 69.5 economists were expecting. Readings above 50 are considered positive.
In earnings news, shares of CarMax (KMX) dropped -7.2% after the operator of used car dealerships said its fiscal fourth-quarter gross margins slipped to 14.2% from 14.5% a year earlier. CarMax’s profit in the quarter rose to $89.5 million, or 39 cents per share, from $75.4 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 23% to $2.25 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of 38 cents a share on sales of $2.18 billion. Twenty pros held CarMax in their portfolios at the end of 2010 and almost 230 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Mosaic (MOS), North America’s second-largest fertilizer producer, said its fiscal third-quarter profit surged to $542.1 million, or $1.21 a share, from $222.6 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier, as sales climbed 28% to $2.21 billion, but the shares fell -2.1% as revenue missed the consensus estimate of $2.34 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.07 a share. Sales of potash fell to 1.86 million tons, below the 1.9-2.1 million Mosaic was forecasting. Forty pros held Mosaic in their portfolios at the end of 2010 and 180 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
DryShips (DRYS), the Greek owner of shipping vessels, said its fourth-quarter profit rose to $99.7 million, or 29 cents a share, from $9.6 million, or 2.2 cents, a year earlier, as revenue jumped to $215.8 million from $196.4 million. On an adjusted basis, DryShips earned $72.8 million, or 20 cents a share. Analysts were expecting a profit of 26 cents. Shares of DryShips rose 0.4%.
Software maker Lawson Software (LWSN) said its fiscal third-quarter profit surged to $21.4 million, or 13 cents per share, from $1.7 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier as sales increased by 5% to $196 million. Excluding one-time items, Lawson earned 14 cents a share. Analysts were expecting a profit of 13 cents on revenue of $193.5 million. The shares rose 1.2%.
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