Report of Facebook IPO Sends Social Networking Stocks Soaring (SBUX, RVBD, JNPR, MO, QPSA, FGP)
Stocks ended the week mixed, as the Nasdaq showed strength while the Dow traded lower and the S&P was near breakeven. The economic data was mixed as well, although consumer confidence continues to improve. Next week will bring another round of high-profile earnings reports that should help set the tone for the market. With only two trading days left in January, though, the market looks set to exit the first month of 2012 off to a very good start.
The Social Networking Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Quepasa (QPSA) with a 33% gain. The Propane Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with Ferrellgas Partners (FGP) down -5%.
Stocks finished mixed. The Dow closed -74 points lower to 12,660, while the S&P slipped -2 points to 1,316. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, added 11 points to close at 2,817. Oil edged down -14 cents to $99.56 a barrel, while gold rose $5.50 to $1,732.20 an ounce.
In economic news, the Commerce Department said fourth-quarter GDP rose 2.8%. That’s the fastest growth rate since 2010, but it was also shy of the 3.0% increase economists had expected. Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading of January consumer sentiment climbed to 75.0 from 69.9 in the prior month. That’s the best reading since February 2011 and better than the 74.1 economists expected.
Starbucks (SBUX), the world’s largest coffeehouse operator, said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose to 382.1 million, or 50 cents per share, from $346.6 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue came in at $3.44 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of 49 cents per share on revenue of $3.29 billion. Starbucks raised its full-year EPS guidance to $1.78-$1.82 a share from $1.75-$1.82. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.83 a share. Shares of Starbucks fell -1.0%.
Shares of Riverbed Technology (RVBD) plunged -18.3% after the company said its Steelhead products line will see decreased demand in the current quarter. As a result, it guided for EPS of between 19-21 cents on sales of $183-$187 million, below the EPS of 25 cents on revenue of $197.1 million that analysts were projecting. The company reported that its fourth-quarter profit jumped to $20 million, or 12 cent a share, from $13 million, or 8 cents a share. On an adjusted basis, Riverbed earned 25 cents a share, just beating analyst expectations. Revenue rose 23% to $203 million, coming in above the $200.8 million consensus.
Shares of network equipment maker Juniper Networks (JNPR) slid -3.0% after the company forecast an adjusted first-quarter profit of 11-14 cents a share on revenue of $960-$990 million. That’s well below the 26 cents a share on revenue of $1.1 billion that analysts were expecting. The company’s fourth-quarter profit fell to $96.2 million, or 18 cents a share, from $190.2 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted EPS came in at 28 cents. Revenue dropped -6% to $1.12 billion. Analysts expected net income of 28 cents a share on revenue of $1.13 billion. Five pros counted Juniper among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and more than 400 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Cigarette maker Altria (MO) said its fourth-quarter profit fell to $836 million, or 41 cents per share, from $919 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 5% to $4.34 billion. On an adjusted basis, Altria earned 50 cents a share. Analysts had expected EPS of 49 cents on sales of $4.23 billion. The company forecast 2012 EPS of $2.17-$2.23. Shares of Altria fell -1.8%. Nearly 80 pros held Altria in their portfolios at the end of Q3 and almost 3,300 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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