U.S. markets struggled to gain traction again today, as some earnings misses counterbalanced positives from higher oil prices and the Fed leaving interest rates unchanged.
Two companies who missed the estimates on earnings were Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), putting pressure on the major indices from the opening bell. Those two finished 9% and 7% lower, respectively. However, oil traded higher, finishing just below $32 a barrel, which for a few hours this morning helped lift markets off the bottom.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Fed said it will continue to “closely monitor global economic and financial developments.” They also indicated that they expect inflation to remain low near term, largely due to diminishing energy prices.
The indices turned lower after the Fed released their statement, as traders tried to decipher all of the nuances to the Fed’s remarks. But traders were not pleased that the Fed refused to rule out a rate hike in March.
By day’s end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.4%, while the S&P 500 was 1.1% lower, and the Nasdaq was a far worse 2.2% into the red. All sectors were lower, except telecommunications and utilities.
Still some stocks were bucking the trend. Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW), Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF) and Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) looked very healthy today and finished as three of today’s best stocks. Here’s what happened:
Weight Watchers International, Inc. (WTW)
WTW stock got a big boost this week after new part owner Oprah Winfrey tweeted out on Tuesday that she has lost 26 pounds on the Weight Watchers diet plan, while still able to eat many of her favorite foods, such as bread.
WTW stock, which also popped higher after Ms. Winfrey tweeted in October that she had lost weight on the diet, has been erratic since late November. The stock has fallen from $25 to a recent low near $11 since then.
Of course, as a major shareholder of WTW stock, Ms. Winfrey also made millions with her most recent pronouncement. WTW stock rose 19% yesterday and tacked on another 3% today. Now that’s a lot of “bread!”
Capital One Financial Corp. (COF)
Capital One stock was also a big winner today after reporting fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.67 late Tuesday, well above the $1.61 per share the analysts were expecting.
In addition, COF reported revenue of $6.19 billion, whereas the street was only looking for $6.08 billion. CEO Richard D. Fairbank cited large gains in domestic card loans, along with purchase volumes.
COF stock has recently fallen from $80 to $60, so today’s rise of nearly 5% was a welcome turnaround for shareholders. Still the stock remains well below both the 50- and 200-day moving averages.
Biogen Inc (BIIB)
Not to be outdone, BIIB stock blistered 5% higher after reporting fourth-quarter 2015 earnings of $4.50 a share, nicely ahead of the street’s estimates for $4.08 a share.
Revenue was $2.8 billion, also beating the estimates by analysts for $2.7 billion. Revenue was up 7.5% year-over-year.
One particular drug that is doing very well for the company is Tecfidera, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Tecfidera sales were up 8.4% during the year to $993 million.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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