Mixed Messages, Cautious Optimism (PSMT, FDO, GBX, APOL, REE, RFMD)
Stocks ended the week mixed despite positive numbers for job growth from the Labor Department, yet another sign of a slowly improving U.S. economy. The action was similar to what we saw the previous two sessions. Stocks were weak early in the day only to rebound in the afternoon, with only the Dow sagging at the end. Tech stocks managed a slim gain and the S&P finished above its low for the day. Overall it was a positive week to start the year, which is good. We remain cautiously optimistic about 2012.
The Rare Earth Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Rare Element Resources (REE) with a 20% gain. The RF Semiconductor Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with RF Micro Devices (RFMD) down -20%.
Stocks closed mixed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping -56 points to end at 12,360. The S&P 500 ended off -3 points to 1,278, while while Nasdaq composite closed up 4 points to 2,674. Gold was down -$3.30 to $1,616.80 per ounce, while oil dropped -25 cents to $101.56 per barrel.
In economic news, the Labor Department said employers added 200,000 new jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, the lowest rate since February 2009.
In earnings news, shares of warehouse store operator PriceSmart (PSMT) plunged -14.1% after the company said its fiscal first-quarter profit fell by -6% to $14 million, or 47 cents per share, from $14.9 million or 50 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 24% to to $478.7 million. Eight pros counted PriceSmart among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and nearly 100 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Family Dollar Stores (FDO) slid -7.5% after the company reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of $80.4 million, or 68 cents per share, compared with $74.3 million, or 58 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose 7.6% to $2.15 billion and same-store sales increased 4.1%. Analysts expected a profit of 68 cents on sales of $2.17 billion. The company forecast second-quarter same-store sales growth of 5% and a profit of $1.10-$1.18 per share. Sixteen pros held Family Dollar in their portfolios at the end of Q3 and nearly 250 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of the railroad equipment maker Greenbrier (GBX) soared 8.4% after the company reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of $14.5 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.3 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue doubled to $398.2 million. Analysts expected a profit of 38 cents a share revenue of $404.2 million.
Apollo Group (APOL), the for-profit education provider, said its fiscal first-quarter profit slumped to $149.3 million, or $1.14 per share, from $235.4 million, or $1.61 per share a year earlier. Revenue slid 11% to $1.18 billion. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.28 a share. Shares of Apollo rose 5.4%.
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