Still feeling the weight of a big rally that has yet to be justified by earnings growth, and still uncertain of what a Donald Trump’s presidency really means for the market, stocks peeled back again today. The S&P 500 gained only 0.06%, closing at 2,280.85.
Here’s the deal.
TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD)
Online brokerage firm Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE:SCHW) caught rivals E*Trade Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC) as well as TD Ameritrade Holding off-guard today, announcing it was lowering its online-trading commissions on stock trades from $8.95 per transaction to $6.95.
AMTD and E*Trade both currently charge $9.99 per trade, so Schwab was already more competitive on that front. Now at $3 less per transaction, however, Charles Schwab will force TD Ameritrade and E*Trade to lower their costs or risk losing customers.
The lower commissions will crimp Schwab’s margins, but the move may take a bigger toll on ETFC and an even larger toll on AMTD. E*Trade Financial shares fell 8.9% on Thursday, but AMTD plunged 9.5%.
Edwards Lifesciences Corp (EW)
Medical equipment maker Edwards Lifesciences managed to top its previous quarter’s earnings and revenue expectations, but a “buy the rumor, sell the news” mindset sent EW shares to a loss of 8.5% for the session.
For the quarter ending in December, Edwards Lifesciences reported a profit of 75 cents per share on revenue of $767.7 million. Both were ahead of the prior year’s figures, and better still, last quarter’s results topped expectations for a profit of 72 cents per share of EW and sales of $759.5 million.
So why the setback for Edwards Lifesciences shares? One of the two analysts that downgraded EW had an alarmingly cogent outlook. Leerink’s Danielle Antalffy said:
“It’s our sense that the ramp in less sick patient populations — currently intermediate risk — may progress at a slower pace than elevated investor expectations. Ultimately, we believe the global TAVR market will exceed $5B by 2021 — in line with EW’s guidance. But in the near-to-medium term, EW is still a “beat and raise” story. Based on our early read into the intermediate risk adoption ramp, we think the beats over the next 12-18 months may be smaller and tougher to come by than over the past 2 years, particularly in light of competitive launches.”
Ralph Lauren Corp (RL)
Last but not least, Stefan Larsson is stepping down as CEO of fine clothier Ralph Lauren, when he and the company’s namesake founder disagreed as to the company’s most promising path going forward. His exit, which will become official on May 1., was an amicable one.
Larsson had held the position for less than two years, and was brought in from the outside to turn the company around. There was some evidence he was managing to do just that. Lauren wasn’t completely convinced of the plan and its execution though.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the release of the company’s third-quarter results. Ralph Lauren earned $1.86 per share versus expectations of only $1.64 per share of RL, but revenue fell 12% on a year-over-year basis.
RL booked a loss of 12.3% on Thursday.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.