U.S. markets were mixed today on the strength of the Nasdaq reaching yet another new high, while weakness persisted throughout the other indices. Meanwhile, traders delighted in the better-than-expected earnings from the stock market, and the June Consumer Price Index lined up with estimates with a rise of 0.3%.
In addition, the June housing starts number was up 9.8%, and building permits were up 7.4% on an eight-year high. The real headline here, however, is The National Association of Home Builders Confidence Index climbing to 60 — its highest level since November 2005.
Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.1%, the S&P 500 gained 0.1% and the Nasdaq was ahead by 0.9%. All sectors — other than the decidedly resilient tech sector — were in the red.
But some very big names were making headlines today: Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG,GOOGL) and Hertz Global Holdings Inc (NYSE:HTZ) all reported fantastic news, making them three of today’s best stocks.
Facebook Inc (FB)
FB made our list of best stocks today by climbing 4% after the Wall Street Journal reported a new e-commerce feature Facebook is testing. The new feature reportedly allows users to shop directly on Facebook rather than doing their business with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Small and mid-size businesses can now show and sell their products directly on Facebook Pages, and the feature represents another attempt by FB to generate more advertising revenue.
Previous attempts by retailers to open Facebook storefronts have not gone well because consumers see FB as social media (which it is), and don’t necessarily associate Mark Zuckerberg’s network with e-commerce. That may soon change.
Google Inc (GOOGL)
GOOGL stock had a spectacular day on its road to becoming one of today’s best stocks, adding $60 billion to its market capitalization and surging 16% on several positive notes.
First, GOOGL reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations, the first time that has happened since 2013. GOOGL reported earnings of $6.99 per diluted share, above the Street estimates for $6.75. GOOG’s revenue clocked in at $17.73 billion, roughly in line with expectations for $17.75 billion.
Second, current CFO Ruth Porat pledged to scrutinize spending and resource allocation. Who couldn’t do with a little belt tightening every now and then?
Third, analyst Anthony DiClemente of Nomura Holdings reiterated a “buy” rating and raised his price target on GOOGL stock from $625 to $800.
You can’t have a much better day than that!
Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ)
Investors of HTZ stock were happy this morning after the rental car company revealed a “material weakness” was found through an internal review, which was attributed to former CEO Mark Frissora, who resigned last fall after pressure from investors. Hertz said it now expects to have annual cost savings of $300 million by the end of 2015, $100 million more than its previous objective.
In an effort to shake things up a bit, CEO John Tague restructured Hertz personnel and claims HTZ will terminate its U.S. car-sharing business — a business that has not produced as much revenue as had been hoped.
HTZ stock surged more than 11% on the day.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.