Will Holidays Shift the Focus Away From Europe? (HNZ, CRM, GPS, FL, MENT, HOKU)
More solid economic data out of the U.S., this time in the form of a strong Leading Indicators number, wasn’t enough to prevent a sluggish day on the market as stocks ended mixed amid continued worries over Europe. With Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, next week, hopefully investors will start to focus on the numbers coming out of the U.S. more than the news out of Europe. We’re expecting a solid holiday season for retailers, and remain cautiously optimistic on the market heading into year-end.
The Semiconductor Design and Manufacturing Software Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Mentor Graphics (MENT) with a 14% gain. The Fuel Cell Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with Hoku Corp (HOKU) down -14%.
Stocks ended the day mixed, with the Dow closing up 25 points to 11,796. The S&P fell fractionally to 1,216, while the Nasdaq lost -15 points to close at 2,572. Oil slipped -$1.41 to $97.41 a barrel, while gold rose $4.90 to $1,725.10 an ounce.
In economic news, the index of U.S. leading indicators showed a surprise increase last month, rising 0.9%, compared with a 0.1% increase in September. Economists had expected an increase of 0.6%.
In earnings news, H.J. Heinz (HNZ), the world’s largest ketchup producer, said its fiscal second-quarter profit fell to $237 million, or 73 cents per share, from $251.4 million, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, Heinz earned 81 cents a share. Revenue rose 8% to $2.83 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 80 cents on revenue of $2.9 billion. The company reiterated fiscal 2012 profit guidance of $2.24-$2.32 a share. Analysts were expecting EPS of $2.34. Shares of Heinz fell -3.3%.
Shares of Web software maker Salesforce.com (CRM) plunged -10.0% after the company’s total Q3 billings were light of estimates. The SaaS firm reported a third-quarter loss of -$3.8 million, or -3 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $21.1 million, or 15 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, Salesforce earned 34 cents. Revenue climbed 36% to $584.3 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 31 cents on revenue of $572 million. Salesforce forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 39-40 cents a share on revenue of $620-$624 million. Analysts were expecting 40 cents a share on revenue of $610 million. Twenty-five pros held Salesforce in their portfolios at the end of Q3 and more than 600 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Apparel retailer Gap (GPS) said its fiscal third-quarter profit fell to $193 million, or 38 cents per share, from $303 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier as revenue declined -1.8% to $3.58 billion. Same-store sales dipped -5%. Analysts had expected a profit of 36 cents per share and revenue of $3.59 billion. The company reiterated full-year guidance of $1.40-$1.50. Analysts were expecting $1.50. Shares of Gap fell -2.6%.
Athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker (FL) said its fiscal third-quarter profit climbed 27% to $66 million, or 43 cents per share, from $52 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose almost 9% to $1.39 billion, as same-store sales increased 7.4%. Analysts expected a profit of 39 cents on sales of $1.37 billion. Shares of Foot Locker rose 2.6%. Seven pros counted Foot Locker among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and nearly 70 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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