Will they or won’t they? Responding sharply again to the daily fluctuations of whether or not the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in June, U.S. markets were strongly higher today as mixed economic data gave traders hope that the Fed may continue its recent desire to remain “patient” before pulling the trigger.
However, retail sales for February fell 0.6%, below expectations for a slight gain, and U.S. business inventories were unchanged in January, leading some analysts to expect more discounting of retail prices over the months ahead.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.5%, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.3% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%. A number of sectors were strong today, among them cyclical consumer goods, financials, utilities and telecommunications.
Several stocks that have recently pulled back off highs had big gains today, such as Taser International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) and Men’s Warehouse Inc (NYSE:MW), which made them three of today’s best stocks.
Here’s what happened:
Taser International, Inc. (TASR)
Taser stunned the street this morning, announcing a slew of new orders for its next-generation smart weapons and conducted electrical weapons. TASR stock was up 9.4% on the news.
The largest order, of about 400 weapons, came from the police department in DeKalb County, Georgia, including Taser Cam HD recorders and Taser Assurance service plans. In total, there were new orders of at least 40 Taser units from at least 27 different law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and internationally.
Dollar General Corp. (DG)
DG stock rose 4% today after reporting fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.17, meeting the Street’s forecast. Revenue was up 10% to nearly $4.5 billion, but just missed analysts’ expectations.
In addition, Dollar General shook off its January loss to rival Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) in the bidding war to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE:FDO), announcing it would open 730 new stores this year while relocating or remodeling another 875 stores.
Dollar General cited “strong new store returns” over the last six years as its rationale, but it was readily apparent that the move comes in an effort to compete with the merger of DLTR and FDO.
In addition, DG announced a $1 billion increase in its buyback plan.
Men’s Warehouse Inc (MW)
DG wasn’t the only one announcing new store openings. Clothing retailer MW used the reporting of its fourth-quarter earnings to announce plans to open another 100 stores this year.
As for the earnings, MW reported an adjusted loss of 3 cents a share, beating the Zack’s estimate of a 7-cent loss and far better than the 38 cents a share loss suffered in the fourth quarter of 2013.
MW bought 600 stores from rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB) in 2014. MW stock, which blasted up more than 8.8% today, has risen about 30% total since mid-December.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
More From InvestorPlace
- 5 Great Small Caps for Growth
- The Perfect Growth Engine for Alibaba
- Market Flirting With a Death Cross