Stock markets held managed to end on the upside on Friday after wavering for much of the day; this capped a third straight week of gains for Wall Street. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the Chicago Fed Conference. He said the U.S. financial system is still vulnerable five years after the onset of the financial crisis. He cited the shadow banking system as something that continues to threaten financial stability. In addition, Bernanke said the Fed is watching asset markets closely for new signs of excessive risk.
Many traders spent the day watching the Gap (GPS). Shares climbed more than 5% after the company sales figures for April. Total revenue rose 5% to $1.21 billion. Same-store sales were up 8% at the company's namesake brand and 9% at Old Navy. Gap also says it expects to post quarterly earnings more than 15% higher than analyst estimates. The Gap is now trading at a 52-week high.
Priceline (PCLN) got back on course, rising 3% today after an earnings report which initially sent shares lower. Priceline easily beat the street posting a profit of $5.76 a share, almost 50-cents higher than expectations. But the discount travel giant says it expects profits to fall in the current quarter because of global expansion costs. Among other things the company is in the process of buying kayak.com. The company has pretty much performed in line with the market, up about 15% this year.
Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT) was an all-around winner. Shares soared nearly 20%. The company reported earnings after the closing bell yesterday. It beat on both the top and bottom lines posting earnings of 24-cents a share on revenue of $83 million. Ubiquiti is a California-based company that makes equipment for wireless networks. It also gave an outlook for the current quarter which topped estimates.
Another market gainer today was Molycorp (MCP) which climbed more than 30%. Molycorp is a Colorado-based mining company that specializes in rare-earth products. It posted losses, but they were narrower than expected at 15-cents a share when consensus was for minus 31-cents. Molycorp also beat on revenue by nearly 10%, though the figures were down from last year. The company says it is currently suffering from a price drop in its offerings. On the upside, it's nearing completion of a modernization and expansion project at its central mine.