U.S. markets tried for a comeback today but fell short, even as investors were somewhat relieved to hear Janet Yellen tell Congress that if the economy continues to disappoint, the Fed will have to think twice about raising interest rates again.
Ms. Yellen cited the recent stock market sell off and global weakness as possible impediments to hiking interest rates, but also noted in regard to a question involving a rate cut, “I don’t think it will be necessary to cut rates but like I said, monetary policy is not on a preset course.”
In the oil markets, prices were bolstered after the Energy Information Administration cited a 0.8 million drop in oil barrel inventory, and Aljazeera was reporting that Iran and Saudi Arabia might work together to set production rates. But prices gave up their gains once again, and oil touched $27.27 intraday, its lowest mark in the past three weeks.
There were no U.S. economic reports out today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.6%, but the S&P 500 finished flat and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%. Sectors were mostly higher, with healthcare stocks looking quite robust today.
Also looking splendid were Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR), Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE: BZH) and Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA), which showed the price appreciation and strong volume worthy enough to become three of today’s best stocks.
Twitter Inc (TWTR)
You can tweet this out: Twitter reports its quarterly earnings after today’s closing bell, and TWTR stock rose nearly 4% today, in anticipation of solid numbers.
Wall Street will be looking for 12 cents a share, with revenue of $710 million for the quarter ending in December. However, several executives have recently left the company, so that could be an ominous sign.
If you’re taking bets on the direction the stock will move, good luck. At present, calls purchased hold a 3:2 ratio over puts, however the short float on TWTR stock is almost 10%. So it looks like the earnings report could go either way.
Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (BZH)
BZH stock surged nearly 7% today, without any major news. However, InsiderMonkey.com is reporting that insider buying at the company was dramatic this week, as eight different insiders took part, including CEO and President Allan P. Merrill, who bought 10,000 shares between $6.25 and $7.25 a share, and Executive Vice President/CFO Robert L. Salomon, who purchased 9,500 shares between $6.08 and $7.23.
Last week, Beazer reported better-than-expected earnings, but also saw its stock drop 16% for unknown reasons the day after the good results came in.
BZH stock has been on a long downtrend since last summer, and has subsequently dropped from $20 to $7 a share.
Panera Bread Co (PNRA)
PNRA stock moved almost 5% higher today after posting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.88 a share, well ahead of the street estimates for $1.78 a share. However, revenue of $691.7 million was below the expectations for $696 million.
It was a quarter of solid expansion, as Panera opened 18 new company restaurants and another 15 franchisee cafes, for an annual total of 112. Panera is also looking forward and seeing store comps increasing by 3.5% to 4.5% in 2016.
PNRA stock has been trading sideways so far in 2016, after rising from $165 to $197 right before the end of 2015.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.