The post-Fed celebration petered out today. U.S. markets were all down significantly after a small initial upturn, as oil prices fell again, the transports were weak and some further economic data came in below expectations.
Crude oil slipped below $35 a barrel again, as traders were again concerned about oversupply, following a 1.4 million barrel stockpile gain at a delivery hub in Cushing, OK. Falling energy stocks such as Exxon Mobile Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) dragged the indices lower. Even with falling oil prices, transports such as CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) still traded lower.
In economic news, the December Philly Fed index reported a reading of -5.9, which was the worst monthly number in all of 2015, and well below the street’s estimate for a 1 rise. The Labor Department reported that initial unemployment claims were 271,000, a decline of 11,000 from the previous week. The street was expecting 275,000, so the actual number was slightly better than estimates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day near its lows, down 1.4%, while the S&P 500 sank 1.5 and the Nasdaq was off 1.4% as well. Every general sector except Utilities was in the red today.
Despite the doom and gloom, a few stocks sported interesting stories. Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P), FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and Rewalk Robotics Ltd (NASDAQ: RWLK) were a few like that and as a result were among today’s three best stocks.
Pandora Media Inc (P)
Pandora stock surged over 13% today after the U.S. Government’s Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) established the rates that online streaming companies will have to pay out to artists for their music going forward.
The CRB’s “Web-IV Rate” set the royalty rates for a five-year period, beginning in 2016. A nonsubscription service such as Pandora will have to pay 17 cents per 100 plays. In the past, Pandora has been paying 14 cents per 100 plays Despite the increase, Wall Street seemed happy that the issue has been resolved, and apparently felt that the increase wasn’t as bad as feared. The Wall Street Journal notes that copyright holders were trying to convince the CRB to give them a 79% increase.
As a result of the ruling, Pandora received a huge analyst upgrade from Rich Tullo of Albert Fried, who raised P stock from “underweight” to “overweight” and lifted the price target from $11 to $20.
FedEx Corporation (FDX)
FDX stock had a good day after reporting quarterly profits of $2.58 a share, well ahead of the street’s forecast for $2.51 a share.
In addition, FedEx reported revenue of $12.5 billion, an increase of 4% over a year ago. FedEx said they had record numbers of shipments, because consumers were buying online instead of through retail outlets.
FDX stock was over 2% higher on the day, but intraday was over 6% before pulling back in the afternoon.
Rewalk Robotics Ltd (RWLK)
RWLK was the biggest winner on the Nasdaq today, blasting up 83% after announcing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had finally awarded them federal insurance coverage for Rewalk’s Personal exoskeleton robotic system, designed to aid paraplegics in walking.
The news was a long time in coming for RWLK, and awakened the stock after it had been decimated from the $30’s to $6 within the past 15 months since its IPO was launched. The V.A. issued the insurance coverage to help qualified veterans with spinal cord injuries, so they can walk again.
FDA approval for the walking device was granted in June, 2014, but the company has had a tough time getting sales off the ground. Revenue reported in November for the first three quarters of 2015 was only $2.4 million, a slight drop from the year before.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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