The Focus Turns to Retail Sales (AMSC, MON, NUS, DISH, NFLX, OPXT)
Stocks had a solid day, led by a rebound in tech stocks. Material and energy names, which have been leading the market, meanwhile, took a rest. All eyes will turn to retail sales numbers tomorrow. Given the shift in the Easter holiday, numbers are expected to be down, with Thomson Reuters expecting a -0.9% decline across the 25 chains it tracks. However, investors will be keying in on how higher gas and food prices have been impacting discretionary spending. We’re expecting relatively solid numbers as the economic recovery picks up.
The Optical Networking Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Opnext (OPXT) with a 14% gain. The Wind Energy Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with American Superconductor (AMSC) down -42%.
Stocks rose on the day, with the Dow up 33 points to 12,427. The S&P added 3 points to close at 1,336, while the Nasdaq jumped 9 points to 2,800. Oil advanced 49 cents to $108.83 a barrel, while gold rose $6.00 to $1,458.50 an ounce.
In earnings news, shares of American Superconductor plunged -41.8% after the company forecast a fiscal fourth-quarter loss on revenue that is well below its prior guidance. For the quarter, Massachusetts-based American Superconductor expects revenue below $42 million and full-year revenue of less than $355 million, below prior guidance of $430-$440 million. The company didn’t give a loss estimate. Analysts were expecting a profit of 33 cents a share on revenue of $120.5 million for the fourth quarter and a full-year profit of $1.34 on revenue of $433.2 million.
Shares of Monsanto (MON), the maker of genetic seeds and herbicides, fell -5.7% after the company said its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 15%, but offered up muted guidance. For the fiscal second quarter, Monsanto earned $1.02 billion, or $1.88 a share, up from $887 million, or $1.60 a share, a year earlier as revenue rose 6% to $4.13 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.85 a share on revenue of $4.15 billion. The company reiterated full-year guidance of $2.72-$2.82 a share, but analysts were expecting $2.85. Fifty-two pros counted Monsanto among their top holdings at the end of 2010, and almost 1,500 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Nu Skin (NUS), the maker of skin care products, said it is expecting a first-quarter profit of 52-54 cents a share on sales of $395 million. Those numbers beat the company’s previous forecast of a profit of 50-53 cents on revenue of $380-$390 million. Analysts were expecting a profit of 51 cents on revenue of $383.6 million. The Utah-based company reiterated full-year profit guidance of $2.25 to $2.35 per share on revenue of $1.6 billion to $1.63 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit $2.32 on sales of $1.62 billion. Shares of Nu Skin rose 6.3%.
Dish Network (DISH), the second-largest U.S. satellite TV provider, won Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million, a move that some analysts are speculating will set up a rivalry with Netflix (NFLX) in the competition to provide streaming movies and TV shows to consumers. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September. Shares of Dish Network rose a penny. Five pros counted Dish Networks among their top holdings at the end of 2010, and more than 100 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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