Concern Brews That Higher Gas Prices Could Crimp Recovery (HPQ, SHLD, KSS, VVUS, DSCO, TSL)
Stocks rose on the day, but the Dow closed just short of 13,000. Earnings today were largely mixed, while the news on the jobs front remains positive. Oil prices, meanwhile, continue to climb. The worry is that higher prices at the pump could eventually hurt the current gradual economic recovery. So far, retailers and restaurant operators haven’t seen any changes in consumer behavior, but the spike in gasoline prices has been fairly recent.
The Respiratory Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Discovery Laboratories (DSCO) with a 11% gain. The Chinese Solar Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with Trina Solar (TSL) down -12%.
Stocks rose on the day, led by a 24-point, or 0.8%, increase in the Nasdaq to 2,957. The Dow jumped 46 points to 12,985, while the S&P added 6 points to 1,363. Oil climbed 24 points to 2,957, while gold advanced $15.00 to $1,786.30 an ounce.
In economic news, weekly jobless claims came in at 351,000, the same level as the prior week. Economists were looking for a reading of 355,000. The four-week moving average fell -7,000 to 359,000, the lowest level since March 2008.
In earnings news, shares of Dow component Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) fell -6.5% after the company said its fiscal first-quarter profit fell to $1.47 billion, or 73 cents per share, from $2.6 billion, or $1.17 a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, HP earned 92 cents a share. Revenue fell to $30.0 billion from $32.3 billion. Analysts were expecting 87 cents on revenue of $30.7 billion.
Shares of Sears Holdings (SHLD) surged 18.7% after the company told investors concerns about its liquidity position were overstated. The company expects to raise $400-$500 million through a rights offering that separates its hardware, hometown and outlet stores and to raise another $270 million in a real estate deal. For Q4, the company reported a loss of -$2.4 billion, or -$22.47 a share, compared with a profit of $374 million, or $3.43 a share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS came in at 54 cents. Revenue fell -4% to $12.5 billion, as same-store sales at its U.S. stores dropped -3.4%. Analysts were looking for EPS of $2.21 on sales of $13.0 billion.
Shares of retailer Kohl’s (KSS) dropped -5.9% after the company forecast a first-quarter profit of 60 cents a share and full-year EPS of $4.75. Analysts were expecting EPS of 77 cents for the current quarter and $4.93 for the full year. The company said its fourth-quarter profit fell to $455 million, or $1.81 a share, from $494 million, or $1.66 a share, a year earlier, when it had less shares. Revenue was flat at $6 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.94 a share and revenue of $6.2 billion.Twenty-one pros held Kohl’s in their portfolios at the end of Q4 and nearly 200 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of biotech firm Vivus (VVUS) soared 77.5% after an FDA advisory panel voted 20-to-2 to approve the company’s experimental weight-loss drug Qnexa. That puts Vivus in position to have the drug approved for sale by the FDA later this year. Six pros counted Vivus among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and nearly 300 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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