Following a three-day rally, U.S. equities were lethargic Thursday as the S&P 500 spent much of the day sporting modest losses as traders took profits while embracing safer assets. Oil futures, which had been a major factor in lifting riskier assets over the past several days, weighed on stocks after data revealed U.S. stockpiles climbed to the highest levels in more than seven years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded slightly lower on the day as the blue-chip index was dragged lower by slack earnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer. Late in Thursday’s session, just over a third of the Dow’s constituents were spotted higher.
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)
Speaking of Dow components, IBM was the best-performing member of the blue-chip index today with a gain of 5% on volume that was about 50% higher than its three-month average.
Investors liked news of IBM’s deal to acquire privately held Truven Health for $2.6 billion, a move that adds to the Watson platform’s healthcare offerings. The Associated Press points out that Truven Health is IBM’s fourth acquisition in healthcare since Watson Health’s launch last April.
On news of the Truven Health deal, Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of IBM to “overweight” while raising its price target on the stock to $140 from $135.
Nvidia Corporation (NVDA)
Staying in the technology sector, shares of semiconductor maker Nvidia surged 8.6% on heavy volume after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter profits of $207 million, or 35 cents per share. Adjusted earnings of 52 cents per share easily topped the consensus estimate of 32 cents per share. Nvidia also said it expects revenue of $1.26 billion, give or take 2%, for the current quarter, which topped analysts’ estimates.
On its conference call, Nvidia said it has struck new partnerships with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (NYSE:BABA). Nvidia already has a partnership with Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).
With Thursday’s surge, NVDA was able to close above its 50-day moving average for the first time in a month. The stock is regaining on its all-time high of $33.94 set in late December, with Nvidia stock currently sitting less than 11% below the mark.
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)
Shares of Wynn Resorts, operator of its namesake casino as well as the Encore property in Las Vegas, climbed nearly 3% a day after the company unveiled plans for a retail complex to be called Wynn Plaza, slated to debut in fall 2017.
“The opening of Wynn Plaza will bring the total retail square footage to more than 173,500 sq. ft. and augment the iconic brands that currently occupy Wynn and Encore, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermès, Loro Piana, Moncler, Prada, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy,” Las Vegas-based Wynn said in a statement.
Last week, Wynn reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.02 per share on revenue of $946.9 million, with the former number trumping estimates of 76 cents per share, but the latter just missing a bar of $948.4 million. Wynn was able to top estimates despite an ongoing slump in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.