The bulls continued their effort to build on the bounce that materialized last week, but the hurdle seems to get a little higher every day. While record highs remain within sight, they also remain out of reach, with the Federal Reserve merely confirming today what we already suspected — we’ll probably see another quarter point interest rate hike next month. The S&P 500’s close of 2,404.39 was only 0.25% better than Tuesday’s last trade, and shy of the early May peak of 2,504.77.
Of course, that small gain would have been preferable to what shareholders of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS) and Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) suffered today. These three retailers ranked among the worst of the day’s worst performers, all in response to last quarter’s results.
Tiffany & Co. (TIF)
Just when it finally started to look like retailers may have fought their way through the worst of the consumerism headwind, one comes along to cast doubt on the idea. On Wednesday, luxury retailer Tiffany & Co posted first-quarter numbers that didn’t offer many silver linings, sending TIF shares to a loss of 8.7% for the day.
For the quarter ending in April, Tiffany pumped up its bottom line from 69 cents per share a year ago to 74 cents per share of TIF stock this time around, handily topping expectations of only 70 cents per share. Revenue of $899.6 million, however, though also up from year-ago levels, fell short of an estimated $914.7 million. The bulk of the selloff, though, was likely driven by a surprisingly poor same-store sales figure. Analysts were looking for an improvement of 1.6%, but they actually fell 2%.
Chico’s FAS, Inc. (CHS)
It wasn’t just high-end retailing that proved it was still struggling on Wednesday. Value-conscious fashion venue Chico’s FAS also dished out lackluster first-quarter numbers this morning.
For the quarter ending in April, the company earned 26 cents per share on sales of $583.7 million. Though the top line fell on a year-over-year basis, the bottom line was up. Both figures, however, missed estimates for earnings of 29 cents per share of CHS and revenue of $624.9 million. Worse, the retailer warned investors it’s looking for same-store sales to decline by mid-single digits this year.
CHS closed 11.2% lower on Wednesday.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW)
Last but not least, proving the retail rout was deep and wide today, home improvement retailer Lowe’s saw its stock fall 3% by the time the closing bell rang.
In its first quarter of the year, Lowe’s Companies earned $1.03 per share on revenue of $16.86 billion, missing estimates for a profit of $1.06 per share and sales of $16.96 billion. Both were up from year-ago levels, as were same-store sales … by 2%. Analysts, however, were calling for same-store sales growth of 3.1%.
Although the report still wasn’t horrifying despite the miss, LOW shareholders had a tough time getting over the fact that rival Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) seems to be faring so much better, more effectively riding the rising tide of an increasingly healthier housing market. Yet, Lowe’s report was still commendable. Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman commented:
“From a stock perspective, the headline may not spark a lot excitement, as expectations had moved up into the print and the bar was set higher by Home Depot. But, in our view, the story hasn’t been Q1; with easier sales and comparisons starting in Q2, and healthy underlying trends, supporting potentially both EPS and valuation upside as we move through this year.”
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.