China Ore Forecasts Make Investors Nervous

Indie Research

Stocks fell on the day, led lower by material and more economically sensitive names. Comments from mining giant BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP - News) that China wouldn't consume much more iron ore in 2020 than it does now helped spurred the sell-off. A decline in housing prices in China also set a negative tone as the market worries about a possible hard landing in China. Despite the market sell-off, financials were once again a bright spot.

The Chinese Solar Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Suntech Power Holdings Co (NYSE: STP - News) with a 14% gain. The LED Stocks Index was the day's worst performing tickerspy Index, with Energy Focus (OTCBB: EFOI.OB - News) down -12%.

Stocks fell on the day, with the Dow off -69 points to 13,170. The S&P and Nasdaq, meanwhile, both lost -4 points to 1,406 and 3,074, respectively. Oil dropped -$2.48 to $105.61 a barrel, while gold slumped -$20.30 to $1,647.00 an ounce.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said new building permits jumped 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units in February. That topped the reading of 690,000 units economists were expecting.

In earnings news, software maker Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE - News) said its fiscal first-quarter profit fell -21% to $185.2 million, or 37 cents per share, from $234.6 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.05 billion from $1.03 billion. On an adjusted basis, Adobe earned 57 cents a share. Analysts had expected a profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $1.05 billion. For the current quarter, Adobe expects an adjusted profit of 57-61 cents on revenue of $1.09-$1.14 billion. Analysts were expecting EPS of 60 cents on revenue of $1.1 billion. Shares of Adobe fell -3.9%.

Share of Tiffany (NYSE: TIF - News) jumped 6.7% after the company reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $178.4 million, or $1.39 per share, compared with $181.2 million, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose almost 8% to $1.19 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.42 per share on sales of $1.19 billion. Tiffany forecast a 2012 profit of $3.95-$4.05 a share, topping the $3.93 analysts were expecting. The company forecast revenue growth of 10%. Fourteen pros counted Tiffany among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and over 230 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.

Shoe retailer DSW (NYSE: DSW - News) said its fourth-quarter profit rose to $19.4 million, or 37 cents per share, from 158,000, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier as revenue climbed 10% to $513.7 million. On an adjusted basis, DSW earned 51 cents. Analysts had expected a profit of 49 cents on sales of $508.7 million. For 2012, DSW expects a profit of $3.20-$3.35 per share on same-store sales growth of 2-4%. Analysts were expecting EPS of $3.31. Shares of DSW rose 3.3%.

Boutique investment bank Jefferies Group (NYSE: JEF - News) posted a fiscal first-quarter profit of $77.1 million, or 33 cents per share, down from $87.3 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 4% to $1 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of 28 cents per share on $692.4 million in revenue. Shares of Jefferies rose 2.3%. Eleven pros counted Jefferies among their top holdings at the end of Q4 and nearly 100 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.

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