With visions of sugarplums already dancing in their heads, traders were mostly disinterested in stocks today. There were slightly more sellers than buyers, edging the S&P 500 0.25% lower to a close of 2,265.18. With minimal volume behind the move though, it’s not a day anyone should take to heart.
Wednesday wasn’t a sleepy session across the board though. Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN), FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) were all especially active, each upended by a big dose of bad news.
Twitter Inc (TWTR)
Microblogging outfit Twitter continues to lose critical staff. Tuesday afternoon, Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger and Product V.P. of Josh McFarland both submitted their resignations. More than half of the executives Twitter started 2016 with are now gone, with the company struggling to find replacements willing to board what is essentially seen as a sinking ship.
Fanning the bearish flames that sent TWTR shares 4.7% lower for the day was straightforward assessment from Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry, who said TWTR was worth less than $10 per share. He added “Many investors were foolishly building (an) investment thesis based on complete stupidity,” stopping just short of saying Twitter was all but doomed.
FedEx Corporation (FDX)
The good news is, shipping company FedEx managed to top last quarter’s revenue expectations. The bad news is, the company fell short of earnings expectations. Despite strong year-over-year growth for its top and bottom lines, the market chose to see the glass as half-empty rather than half full.
For its second fiscal quarter of the year (ending last month), FedEx earned $2.80 per share on revenue of $14.93 billion. Analysts were only calling for sales of $14.88 billion, but those same analysts were also expecting a profit of $2.91 per share of FDX. Its Ground division was the sore spot. Ground’s operating margins fell from 13.0% to 10.5% … a step in the wrong direction made all the more alarming in light of the fact that Ground’s total shipping volume was up 5% for the quarter in question.
Looking ahead to the full year, FedEx expects to report earnings of between $11.85 and $12.35 per share. Analysts are collectively looking for a profit of $12.15 per share of FDX for the year underway, well up from last year’s $10.80.
FDX ended the day down 3.3%.
Accenture Plc (ACN)
Finally, like FedEx, business consulting and support outfit Accenture delivered a disappointing quarterly report, and ACN shareholders paid the price — the stock fell 5.0%.
The earnings aspect of the fiscal Q1 report was solid enough. The company posted an operating profit of $1.58 per share, versus expectations of only $1.49 per share of ACN stock. Sales of $8.52 billion, however, fell short of the expected $8.57 billion.
Accenture’s guidance, however, may have been the key driver of today’s selloff. The company anticipates revenue of between $8.15 billion and $8.4 billion for the current quarter, versus analyst estimates of $8.5 billion. Accenture also dialed back its full-year profit outlook from a range of $5.75 to $5.98 per share to a range of only $5.64 to $5.87 per share of ACN.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.