U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs 36 mins

Why McCormick, CalAmp, and Madison Square Garden Jumped Today

Steve Symington, The Motley Fool

After waffling between positive and negative territory early on, stocks closed solidly in the black today as investors attempted to look past tensions and tariff concerns between the U.S. and its biggest trade partners.

But some individual companies enjoyed far greater gains. Read on to learn why McCormick (NYSE: MKC), CalAmp (NASDAQ: CAMP), and Madison Square Garden (NYSE: MSG) outperformed the market today.

Man in suit pointing to a chart indicating stock market gains

Image source: Getty Images.

McCormick's zesty quarter

Shares of McCormick climbed 8.4% after the spice manufacturer announced stronger-than-expected quarterly results.

McCormick's revenue climbed 19.1% year over year (or 16% in constant currency) to $1.33 billion, with 13% of that growth owed to last year's acquisition of Frank's and French's. On the bottom line, that translated to a 24% jump in adjusted earnings per share to $1.02. Analysts, on average, were only expecting adjusted earnings of $0.93 per share on revenue of $1.32 billion. 

CEO Lawrence Kurzius credited "the successful execution of our strategies" for the company's strength, with strong showings from both the consumer and flavor solutions segments during the quarter.

In addition, McCormick reaffirmed its full-year 2018 guidance for sales to climb 13% to 15%, and for adjusted earnings per share to arrive in the range of $4.85 to $4.95, or up 14% to 16% from $4.26 in 2017.

In the end, it's obvious this report left investors hungry for more, and the stock unsurprisingly hit a 52-week high in response.

CalAmp connects with a quarterly beat

CalAmp stock rose 6.5% after the machine-to-machine (M2M) communications specialist announced its own impressive fiscal first-quarter 2019 results

Quarterly revenue grew 7.7% year over year to $94.9 million, and adjusted earnings per share increased slightly from the same year-ago period to $10.5 million, or $0.29 per share. That growth may not sound particularly exciting, but most investors were only looking for earnings of $0.28 per share on revenue of $93 million. 

What's more, CalAmp's revenue growth was broad-based, including a 6.1% increase from its core telematics systems segment, to $76.4 million, and 15.2% growth from its higher-margin software and subscription services, to $18.5 million. 

For the current quarter, CalAmp sees revenue of $93 million to $98 million, or year-over-year growth of 6.3% at the midpoint, with adjusted earnings per share of $0.25 to $0.31. By comparison, consensus models called for roughly the same revenue, but with earnings near the high end of CalAmp's guidance range. Given its relative outperformance to start the fiscal year, however, and with shares still smarting from a big post-earnings drop in April, the market was more than willing to overlook CalAmp's light earnings guidance this time around.

Madison Square Garden entertains a spinoff

Finally, shares of Madison Square Garden popped 13.9% after the live sports and entertainment company confirmed it's considering a possible spinoff of certain assets.

The company's board of directors has authorized management to explore a possible spinoff that would create a new, separately traded public company from its sports businesses, including the New York Knicks NBA franchise and its development team, the Westchester Knicks; the New York Rangers NHL franchise and its development team, the Hartford Wolf Pack; and the New York Liberty WNBA sports franchise (though the company is also exploring a potential sale of the latter). The spinoff would also include the Knicks Gaming NBA 2K esports franchise, a majority interest in esports organization Counter Logic Gaming, and a training center in Greenburgh, New York. 

"The proposed separation of the sports and entertainment businesses would enable shareholders to more clearly evaluate the company's assets and future potential," Madison Square Garden elaborated, "while allowing both companies to pursue their own distinct business strategy and capital allocation policy."

To be clear, there is no guarantee that Madison Square Garden will move forward with the plan. But if management opts to proceed, the company has confirmed it would quality as a tax-free transaction for all current shareholders.

More From The Motley Fool

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CalAmp and McCormick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.