U.S. stocks were broadly mixed today after news on the labor front was somewhat disappointing to the street. The Labor department reported today that nonfarm payrolls were up by 214,000 last month, and that was far below the expected number of 231,000. The national unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 19.46 to 17,573, while the Nasdaq fell 5.94 to 4632 and the S&P 500 was up 0.68 to 2031. A good deal of the buying came within the final hour of trading.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) were among the weakest stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, while First Solar Inc. (FSLR) was the weakest well-known performer today on the Nasdaq.
Walt Disney (DIS)
DIS stock pulled back 2% from record highs around $92 set Thursday. Disney reported earnings that were slightly better than analysts’ expectations and revenue came in well above Street estimates, but weakness was reported within the company’s cable business. DIS earnings per share for the fourth quarter came to 89 cents, up 16% year-over-year and better than the Zacks consensus estimate by 1 cent. Revenues were up 7% year-over-year to $12.39 billion, besting expectations for $12.23 billion.
Traders probably were looking for an excuse to take some profits after the blistering run-up on DIS stock from $79 over the last two weeks. The stock hit a low of $88.65 intraday, but bounced back in the final hour of trading to finish 5 cents off its high for the day. DIS also announced that Toy Story 4 will be released in June 2017.
First Solar (FSLR)
First Solar dropped nearly 11% Friday after the company reported poor third-quarter earnings and also announced that it wouldn’t be following the solar sector in creating a “yieldco” spinoff of its solar power plant operations.
First Solar earnings came to 61 cents per share, or 2 cents short of analyst expectations, while revenues of $889 million were well short of the consensus estimate of $1.05 billion.
Meanwhile, some investors had hoped First Solar would spin off a “yieldco” — an entity of assets designed to spit out reliable cash flow — to unlock shareholder value. However, CEO James Hughes nixed the idea on the post-earnings conference call, saying the company would “exercise patience” on that front.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)
Abercrombie & Fitch shares dropped more than 16% after announcing that third-quarter sales had declined 12% year-over-year. That came on same-store-sales declines of 10%, including international comps that dropped 15%.
With Friday’s losses, ANF stock is now 10% in the red year-to-date.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.