Stocks waffled all day between positive and negative territory, but when push came to shove as the end of the day approached, it was the bears doing most of the shoving. The S&P 500 Index’s close of 2,438.97 was 0.21% lower than Wednesday’s last trade.
That was nothing compared to the setbacks Kroger Co (NYSE:KR), Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) and J M Smucker Co (NYSE:SJM) suffered on Thursday, however. Here’s a closer look at what went wrong for each of these names on Thursday.
J M Smucker Co (SJM)
In a not-so-gentle reminder that the second-quarter’s earnings season isn’t quite over yet, J M Smucker dished out a disappointing fiscal Q1 report today, sending SJM stock down a distasteful 9.5%.
For the quarter ending in July, J M Smucker turned $1.75 billion worth of revenue into an operating profit of $1.51 per share. The bottom line was better than the $1.46 per share of SJM stock earned in the comparable quarter a year earlier, but sales fell 4% on a year-over-year basis. Worse, the top line missed estimates of $1.813 billion, while earnings rolled in less than the $1.62 per share the pros had been modeling.
Fanning the bearish flames that burned SJM on Thursday was its contracted guidance for the year. The company has been looking for a profit of between $7.85 and $8.05 per share, but business conditions prompted the company to dial back that outlook to a profit of between $7.75 and $7.95 per share of SJM for fiscal 2018.
That said, last quarter’s results weren’t the only reason J M Smucker shares took a hit today.
Kroger Co (KR)
Although the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) isn’t yet consummated, there was never any doubt it was somehow going to work against grocery store giant Kroger. The questions were just ones of how, and when. We now have at least part of an answer to both questions … lower prices, and Monday. Amazon announced today that once the deal closes early next week to immediately look for lower prices on many items found on Whole Foods Market’s shelves.
It’s tacitly a declaration of war against Kroger by a foe that not only has incredible reach, but isn’t necessarily interested in turning a profit. Fearing what’s coming, investors sent KR to a loss of 8.1% for the day.
Kroger wasn’t the only victim of the news though … just the biggest. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) tumbled 5% when it was swept up in the selling wave, and Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (NASDAQ:SFM) — which is more of a direct rival to Whole Foods than Kroger is — was off by 7% on Thursday. Even food suppliers like the aforementioned Smuckers aren’t going to be immune to Amazon’s initiative.
Express, Inc. (EXPR)
Last but not least, investors of retailer Express may be suffering a little whiplash today. Yesterday’s near-20% gain from EXPR was at least partially erased by today’s 3.4% setback.
Wednesday’s surge was sparked by an impressive second-quarter earnings beat. While Wall Street was counting on a loss of one penny per share and sales of $474.1 million, the company mustered revenue of $478.5 million and a profit of 1 cent per share of EXPR stock.
It only took a day for investors to remember, however, that Express is still Express, and it is still ultimately moving in the wrong direction. The bigger trend is still decidedly bearish, with EXPR shares down 70% since early 2016, and still broadly moving into new multi-year low territory.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.