S&P 500 Hits a Milestone (GES, VRA, WGO, CSCO, AIXG, YONG)
Stocks rose yet again, with the S&P the latest major index to hit a milestone, hitting 1,400 for the first time since June 2008. Transports helped lead the market higher today, after sources said that both Great Britain and the U.S. would release strategic oil reserves in the face of higher gasoline prices. Financials also continued their recent leadership. While the market remains in bull mode and investors should continue to enjoy the ride, we wouldn’t be chasing stocks at this point.
The LED Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Aixtron SE (AIXG) with a 17% gain. The Chinese Agriculture Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with Yongye International (YONG) down -8%.
Stocks rose on the day, with the Dow up 57 points to 13,251. The S&P jumped 8 points to 1,403, while the Nasdaq rose 16 points to 3,056. Oil slipped -32 cents to $105.11 a barrel, while gold rose $16.60 to $1,659.50 an ounce.
In economic news, initial jobless claims fell by -14,000 to 351,000 last week. Economists had expected a reading of 357,000 jobless claims. The previous week’s number was revised up to 365,000 claims from 362,000. Elsewhere, the Labor Department said U.S. producer prices climbed 0.4%, compared to the 0.5% increase economists had expected. Core PPI, which excluded food and energy, rose 0.2%, in line with estimates. Meanwhile, the Empire State manufacturing index climbed to 20.2 in March, the highest level in almost two years and well above estimates, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its business condition index rose to 12.5 in March from 10.2 in February, in line with expectations.
In earnings news, shares of apparel retailer Guess (GES) plunged -10.3% after the company forecast a first-quarter profit of 25-28 cents a share on revenue of $560-$575 million. That’s well below the 48 cents a share on sales of $609.7 million analysts were expecting. For Q4, the company reported a profit of $95.9 million, or $1.05 cents per share, in line with analyst estimates. Two pros counted Guess among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and nearly 120 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of handbag and accessories maker Vera Bradley (VRA) slid -9.6% after the company said it expects a first-quarter profit of 27-29 cents on sales on $115-$117 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 32 cents per share on revenue of $117 million. In the fourth quarter, Vera Bradley earned $20.1 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $14.2 million, or 35 cents per share, a year earlier as sales increased 23% to $134.5 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 47 cents per share on revenue of $130.1 million.
Shares of Winnebago Industries (WGO) surged 16.0% after the company reported fiscal second-quarter revenue of $131.6 million, which easily topped the $120.1 million analysts expected. Backlog at the end of the quarter rose 4 percent to 1,004 motor homes. Winnebago reported a loss of -3 cents a share for the quarter, below the 2-cent consensus.
Networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) said it will acquire British software maker NDS Group for $5 billion. While some analysts viewed the deal price as expensive, Cisco said the purchase would add to earnings in the first year after being completed. Cisco will use overseas cash to pay for the deal. Shares of Cisco fell -1.4%. Nearly 240 pros held Cisco in their portfolios at the end of Q4 and almost 3,700 tickespy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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