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Stocks Fluctuate on Syria Concerns and Jobs Report

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks jumped around today, before closing flat, on concerns over Syria and an underwhelming jobs report. The Dow briefly dropped 148-points in the morning after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to reporters about the conflict in Syria. Putin said he would keep selling arms and sending aid to the country, regardless of whether the U.S. ultimately decides to attack Syria. Also weighing today on markets was an underwhelming jobs report. The Labor Department says there were 169,000 jobs created in August, below expectations which were for about 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate made a surprise dip down to 7.3%, but that was due in part to the lowest labor force participation rate since 1978.

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Facebook (FB) hit an-time high today. Shares of the social network climbed another 3% to close near $44 a share. Shares of the biggest social network have jumped more than 90% in the past three months. The rise stems from improving advertising strategies, most notably in mobile.

Yelp (YELP) also hit a new all-time high, rising 6% for the day. The climb came after Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of the online restaurant review company with a buy rating and a price target of $81. Yesterday's close was below $59.

Smith and Wesson (SWHC) dropped 10% despite issuing a robust earnings report after yesterday's close. The gunmaker made 40-cents a share when estimates were for 36-cents. Meanwhile, revenue reached $171 million when expectations were for $165 million. Numbers were also up dramatically from a year ago due to increasing demand. But the company issued disappointing guidance on waning demand. Prior to today, the stock is up 34% year-to-date and last month shares hit their highest level in more than five years.

Clothing company Quiksilver (ZQK) skyrocketed over 30% during the session on its earnings. The company missed on revenues which came in on the south side of $500 million. But earnings were 10-cents a share excluding items when expectations were for just 4-cents. Quiksilver says it has been successful at improving operating efficiencies. Today's gains give the company bragging rights that it has a market capitalization over $1 billion dollars.

Mattress Firm Holding Corp (MFRM) tumbled 15% on dismal earnings. The company made 43-cents a share, 8-cents lower than expected. Revenue was also below expectations at $302 million when analysts were looking at $323 million. The chain has also lowered its guidance. Prior to today, the stock was up 67% year-to-date.

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