Wait and See on Fiscal Cliff

Indie Research

It was another seesaw day on Wall Street that saw stocks close moderately lower. Earnings were generally good today, particularly out of the retail sector. News out of China saw the yuan hit a high against the dollar as its economy showed signs of improving, but Chinese stocks have been struggling and were hurt by news that the government may expand a property tax trial to curb big increases in transaction volume and home prices. Meanwhile, the U.S. markets seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach with the fiscal cliff, although with some groups there does appear to be some irrational panic selling.

The Sporting Goods Retailer Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) with a 5% gain. The Chinese IT Stocks Index was the day's worst performing tickerspy Index, with Camelot Information (CIS) down -4%.

Stocks fell on the day, with the Dow off -59 points to 12,756. The S&P lost -6 points to 1,375, while the Nasdaq dropped -20 points to close at 2,884. Oil fell -19 cents to $85.38 a barrel, while gold dipped -$6.10 to $1,724.80 an ounce.

In earnings news, high-end fashion retailer Michael Kors (KORS) reported a third-quarter profit of $97.8 million, or 49 cents per share, compared with $31.6 million, or 22 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 74% to $532.9 million, while same-store sales surged 45.2%. Analysts had expected a profit of 40 cents per share. The company raised its full-year EPS guidance by 16 cents to $1.48-$1.50 a share, which was above the $1.46 consensus. For the current quarter, the company expects to earn 37-39 cents per share versus the 39-cent estimate. Shares of Michael Kors rose 0.9%.

Shares of athletic apparel and equipment retailer Dick's Sporting Goods jumped 4.7% after the company raised its full-year EPS guidance to $2.53-$2.55 a share from $2.47-$2.51 a share. Analysts were expecting EPS of $2.51 a share. The company said it expects a fourth-quarter profit of $1.03-$1.05 a share, below the $1.07 consensus. Dick's said its third-quarter profit rose to $50.1 million, or 40 cents per share, from $41.5 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 32 cents a share. Revenue rose 11% to $1.31 billion, while same-store sales increased 5.1%. Analysts had expected a profit of 37 cents per share on $1.3 billion in revenue.

High-end retailer Saks (SKS) said its third-quarter profit rose to $22.6 million, or 14 cents per share, from $17.8 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 12 cents per share. Revenue rose to $713.2 million from $692.3 million. Same-store sales increased 3.3%. Analysts had expected EPS of 12 cents on $727 million in sales. Shares of Saks rose 0.4%. Two pros counted Saks among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and nearly 120 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.

Weatherford International (WFT) shares plunged -15.9% after the oil services provider said it expects a fourth-quarter profit of 20 cents per share, well below the 28 cents analysts were expecting. The company posted an adjusted third-quarter profit before income taxes of $264 million down from $288 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 13% to $3.82 billion, but analysts had expected $3.9 billion. Fifteen pros counted Weatherford among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and nearly 770 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.

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