It was a volatile day for stocks that saw the market swing several times between positive and negative territory before finally closing in the green at session highs. Investors are now waiting on tomorrow's monthly jobs report from the Labor Department. This morning the department released numbers on weekly jobless claims. The report came in at 346,000 new claims, basically in-line with estimates of 345,000.
Shares of SodaStream (SODA) popped today even after Pepsi (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi debunked a report that her company was looking to purchase the maker of home soda machines. Shares rose nearly 3% on hopes that the company would be a takeover target for another larger corporation. SodaStream's price initially rose more than 30% on the report which was posted on an Israeli business website. The report also said Goldman Sachs was overseeing the talks. Nooyi says there was absolutely no truth to the story.
J.M. Smucker (SJM) was in a bit of a jam for the session. The stock dropped 4% despite reporting strong quarterly earnings. The company beat estimates posting $1.29 a share when the consensus was for $1.15. Revenue was right in line with the consensus at $1.34 billion. Smucker's says overall volume for the quarter was up 2%. Net income climbed 13% in large part because the Folgers product line improved margins as coffee prices fell.
VeriFone (PAY) plummeted 20% today after a bruising earnings miss. The company posted adjusted profits of 42-cents a share when estimates were for 47-cents. And the drop from last year is significant when VeriFone made 75-cents a share on about 15% more revenue. The company has also lowered its outlook, but says it hopes to turn things around by investing money to develop new products. Jefferies analyst Jason Kupferberg wrote today that selling the company might be a good option given that its industry still has good growth potential. This is the second time shares have tumbled on earnings. They fell 43% back in February when the company issued its last report.
Both Vera Bradley (VRA) and Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) fell 8% today. In the case of Vera Bradley, the maker of handbags and accessories has lowered its outlook for the year. The company also announced the retirement of CEO Michael Ray, who has been at the helm since 2007. As for Ascena, its quarterly report shows net income plunging 37% even though sales were up. The company also missed estimates posting profits of 26-cents a share when consensus was for 30-cents. Ascena is the parent company of chains including Lane Bryant and Dress Barn, and Justice. CEO David Jaffe admits making some bad choices in merchandise.