The Summer of Choppy Markets (CAT, GE, APKT, CSTR, VZ, SWKS, BTX)
Stocks struggled for direction today as the Dow closed lower and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes ended the week higher. The Dow was dragged down by a poor showing by Caterpillar (CAT) in particular but also Verizon (VZ). Then there was the continuing circus in Washington over the debt limit and the terror attacks in Norway, but investors largely shrugged off those headlines. The earnings reports and outlooks from some Blue Chip companies were reasonably good today. Caterpillar only missed the analyst consensus by two cents and it raised revenue guidance but investors seized on the EPS miss rather than the outlook. We continue to expect more choppy days this summer.
The RF Semiconductor Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) with a 19% gain. The Stem Cell Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with BioTime (BTX) down -8%.
Stocks ended the week mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down -43 points to 12,681, but the S&P 500 added 1 point to close at 1,345 while the Nasdaq was the strongest performer, adding 24 points to close at 2,859. Crude oil added 74 cents a barrel to end at $99.87, while gold finished up $14.50 at $1,601.50 per ounce.
In earnings news, shares of Dow component Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, fell -5.8% after the Illinois-based company’s second-quarter profit fell just short of analyst estimates. For the quarter, net income jumped 44% to $1.02 billion, or $1.52 a share, from $707 million, or $1.09 a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Caterpillar earned $1.72 a share. Revenue surged 37% to $14.2 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.74. Caterpillar forecast 2011 sales of $56-$58 billion up from previous guidance of $52-$54 billion. Nearly 150 pros held Caterpillar in their portfolios at the end of Q1 and more than 2,300 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Conglomerate General Electric (GE) said its second-quarter profit rose 21% to $3.76 billion, or 35 cents a share, from $3.11 billion, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue slid -4% to $35.6 billion, hurt in part from the sale of its majority stake in NBC Universal. Analysts were expecting a profit of 32 cents on revenue of $34.7 billion. Notably, profits at its troubled financial arm, GE Capital, more than doubled to $1.66 billion. Shares of General Electric slipped by -0.6%. More than 550 pros held General Electric in their portfolios at the end of Q1 and nearly 8,000 tickerpsy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Acme Packet (APKT) jumped 9.3% after the provider of telecom infrastructure posted a second-quarter profit of $14 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with $9.7 million or 14 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $79.7 million from $53.3 million. Excluding one-time items, Acme Packet earned 29 cents a share, above the 27-cent consensus. The company forecast a full-year profit of $1.14-$1.18 a share on revenue of $315-$320 million. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.16 on sales of $323 million.
Shares of Coinstar (CSTR), the vending machine and DVD rental kiosk operator, dropped by -7.5% after the Washington-based company said it expects second-quarter revenue of $434-$436 million, below the $446 million analysts were expecting. The company did, however, forecast a profit of 96 cents to $1.00 a share, well above the 81 cents analysts were expecting. Coinstar said it expects a full-year profit of $2.90-$3.15 a share on revenue of $1.76-$1.85 billion. Analysts were looking for a profit of $3.02 a share on revenue of $1.81 billion.
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