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Markets News, Mar. 6, 2024: Stocks Climb as Job Openings Dip, Powell Reiterates Fed’s Patience

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Equity Indexes Wrap: Tech Leads Broad Rally; Tesla Falls From S&P 500’s Top Ten;

March 06, 2024 04:11 PM EST

The Dow

Tech led the index higher, with Intel (INTC) shares gaining 3.1%, International Business Machine (IBM) rising 2.2%, and Salesforce (CRM) advancing 1.7%.

Disney (DIS) led the index’s laggards, falling 2.5%. 

Chevron (CVX) lost 0.8% after Exxon Mobil (XOM) said it would contest the oil major’s acquisition of Hess Corp.’s (HESS) interest in the massive Stabroek block in Guyana. 

The S&P 500

Albemarle (ALB) rose 9.3%, rebounding from a sell-off yesterday after the lithium miner said it would offer new stock

Pfizer (PFE) rose 4.3% after an appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against the company’s diversity fellowship program. 

Campbell Soup Company (CPB) ticked up 0.5% after it narrowly beat earnings expectations.

Brown Forman (BF.B) tumbled 7.3% after its quarterly earnings fell short of estimates amid what it called a “challenging” operating environment.

Morgan Stanley (MS) fell 3.9% after cutting 9% of its China fund unit staff. 

The Nasdaq 100

CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD) soared 10.8% after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and full-year guidance. Cybersecurity peer Fortinet (FTNT) rose 3.3%.

DexCom (DXCM) shares jumped 9.8% after the FDA approved its device Stelo, the first over-the-counter glucose sensor in the U.S. 

Chip stocks also advanced, with Qualcomm (QCOM) up 4% and Nvidia (NVDA) rising 3.2%.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) missed out on the cybersecurity rally. The stock fell 4.2% after CrowdStrike’s earnings contrasted dramatically with Palo Alto’s lackluster report last month. ZScaler (ZS) also slid 1.9%. 

PDD Holdings (PDD) fell 3.9%. Competitor JD.com (JD) reported better-than-expected quarterly sales after expanding into lower-priced products, challenging PDD subsidiary Tesla (TSLA) fell 2.3%, causing the stock to drop out of the top 10 most valuable companies in the S&P 500. Alphabet (GOOGL) slipped 1%. 

Palantir Stock Surges on $178.4 Million US Army Contract Focused on AI

March 06, 2024 04:02 PM EST

Palantir Technologies (PLTR) shares surged 10% in early trading Wednesday after the company announced it secured a $178.4 million U.S. military contract focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tech for the Army.

The contract covers the development and delivery of the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) ground station system, the Army’s “next-generation deep-sensing capability” enabled by AI and ML.

The $178.4 million contract is Palantir’s fourth-largest contract by annual revenue run rate, according to William Blair analysts.

Palantir shares rose 9.8% to $26.14 Wednesday. So far this year, the stock has gained more than 52%.

-Naomi Buchanan

NYCB Jumps on $1B Investment Led by Steven Mnuchin

March 06, 2024 03:05 PM EST

Shares of New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) rebounded after the lender announced it had secured a $1 billion investment from a group of firms led by former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Liberty Capital.

As part of the deal, Mnuchin will join the bank’s board of directors, as will fellow investors Allen Puwalski of Hudson Bay Capital and Milton Berlinski of Reverence Capital. They will be joined by former Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who will also take the reins as CEO.

Trading in the company’s shares was halted Wednesday afternoon after a Wall Street Journal report outlining the bank’s efforts to raise capital sent the stock tumbling more than 40%.

After trading resumed, shares rebounded to trade down just 1% with an hour left in the session.

Foot Locker Stock Plunges After It Delays Financial Target, Gives Soft Guidance

March 06, 2024 02:06 PM EST

Shares of Foot Locker (FL) cratered Wednesday after the sneaker retailer pushed back the date it planned to meet a key financial target and gave weak profit guidance. The news offset the company’s better-than-expected holiday results.

CFO Mike Baughn explained that while Foot Locker believes it will reach the goal of its Lace Up plan launched in March 2023, that will be delayed two years. He said the company now sees that earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin target of 8.5% to 9% coming by 2028. Baughn added the change was made “given our lower starting point exiting 2023.”

Foot Locker also predicted full-year adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.50 to $1.70, well below analysts’ estimates. Sales are anticipated to be in the range of down 1% to up 1%.

Foot Locker shares sank 32% to $23.14 Wednesday afternoon, and are down about 46% year-over-year.

Bill McColl

New York Community Bancorp Stock Slumps Amid Reports of Search For Cash Infusion

March 06, 2024 12:40 PM EST

New York Community Bank (NYCB) shares sank in intraday trading Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal reported the troubled regional lender was seeking to raise equity capital in a bid to shore up confidence.

The bank’s shares tumbled more than 40% following the report, falling below $2. It is the stock’s third slide of that magnitude in a little over a month. The first came in late January when the firm cut its dividend and increased its provisions for credit losses by nearly 800%. Shares tumbled again on March 1 after the company replaced its longtime CEO and reported “material weaknesses” in internal loan review controls. 

The bank’s results and its stock price have taken a hit from its outsized exposure to commercial real estate loans, which has spooked investors and creditors. Moody’s downgraded the bank’s rating last week after cutting it to junk in early February.

With Wednesday’s decline, NYCB shares have lost more than 80% of their value this year alone. 

CrowdStrike Earnings Lift Cybersecurity Stocks

March 06, 2024 11:41 AM EST

Cybersecurity stocks rose Wednesday after CrowdStrike Holdings’ (CRWD) quarterly earnings and forecast topped Wall Street estimates.

CrowdStrike reported adjusted earnings of 95 cents per share of the quarter ended Jan. 31, well above the 82 cents analysts expected. Revenue rose 33% from the year-ago quarter to $845 million, also beating expectations.

For the current quarter, CrowdStrike forecasts adjusted earnings of between 89 cents and 90 cents a share on revenue of $902 million to $906 million. Full-year earnings per share are expected to fall within a range of $3.77 to $3.97, and revenue is expected to be between $3.92 billion and $3.99 billion. All guidance exceeded the Street’s consensus estimates. 

“As sales cycles normalize and deal sizes continue to improve, we believe these guidance targets could ultimately prove conservative over the next few quarters,” wrote Bank of America analysts in a research note Wednesday.

CrowdStrike shares soared as much as 20% at the open Wednesday before paring their gains to trade about 12% higher as of 11:40 a.m. ET. Several peers, including Fortinet (FTNT) and Okta (OKTA), followed CrowdStrike higher. The First Trust Nasdaq Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR) traded 1.7% higher.  

The exceptions: ZScaler (ZS), down 1.3%, and Palo Alto Networks (PANW), down 2.7%. The latter sent cybersecurity stocks plummeting two weeks ago when it warned of “spending fatigue” amid customers.

Nordstrom Stock Drops After Full-Year Sales Outlook Disappoints

March 06, 2024 10:53 AM EST

Shares in upscale department store chain Nordstrom (JWN) fell sharply Wednesday after the company issued a softer-than-expected full-year outlook as customers have become more price-sensitive.

The Seattle-based retailer said it expects full-year fiscal 2024 revenue to range from a 2% decline to a 1% gain year-over-year, whereas analysts had projected that sales will be flat. The company sees earnings per share (EPS) for the period coming in between $1.65 and $2.05, with the $1.85 midpoint of that band falling considerably short of the $2.01 a share consensus mark.

On the company’s earnings call, Nordstrom CEO Erik Nordstrom told analysts that both store and website traffic remains soft but had improved sequentially throughout fiscal 2023, adding that the average order value in both categories was rising.

Source: TradingView.com.

Nordstrom shares recently broke above the top trendline of a two-year descending channel, however, trading volumes remained light leading into the company’s earnings report. If a sell-off intensifies in the coming days, monitor the region from $17.52 to $19.09—an area on the chart where the price may find support between the 50- and 200-day moving averages. A breakdown below this key level could lead to a retest of the channel’s lower trendline.

Timothy Smith

JD.com Jumps on Chinese E-Commerce Giant’s Revenue Beat and $3B Buyback Plan

March 06, 2024 10:05 AM EST

American depositary receipts (ADRs) of Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com (JD) jumped in early trading Wednesday after the company reported fourth-quarter sales that beat estimates.

JD.com reported revenue of 306.1 billion Chinese yuan ($43.1 billion), up 3.6% from the fourth quarter of 2022, and above analyst projections. The e-commerce giant noted it rolled out a series of low-price initiatives to boost sales, though it incurred several impairment charges, holding back profits.

JD.com’s net income for the fourth quarter was 3.4 billion yuan ($0.5 billion), up from 3 billion yuan ($0.42 billion) in the year-ago period. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) missed estimates at 2.13 yuan (30 cents).

The company also announced a $3 billion share repurchase program and an annual dividend of 76 cents per U.S.-listed share.

ADRs of JD.com were 15% higher after the open on Wednesday, though they were still down about 8% since the start of 2024.

Aaron McDade

Stocks Making the Biggest Moves Premarket

March 06, 2024 09:29 AM EST

Gains:

  • CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. (CRWD): Shares of the cybersecurity firm jumped 22% after it forecast higher current-quarter earnings and revenue than analysts were expecting after topping Wall Street’s estimates in the fourth quarter. 
  • JD.com Inc. (JD): Shares of the Chinese e-commerce company rose 14% after it topped sales estimates in the fourth quarter and approved a $3 billion, three-year share buyback program. 
  • Palantir Technologies Inc. (PLTR): Shares rose nearly 9% after the Army awarded the data analytics firm a $180 million contract for an AI-powered ground station system. 

Losses:

  • Foot Locker Inc. (FL): Shares of the footwear retailer tumbled 14% after its full-year earnings forecast fell short of analyst estimates. The company also said it would take longer to achieve a key financial goal than previously anticipated. 
  • Nordstrom Inc. (JWN): Shares of the clothing retailer dropped 11% after its full-year sales and earnings guidance came in below Wall Street’s expectations. 
  • Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (EL): Shares of the cosmetic giant slid more than 2% after a lab found high levels of the carcinogen benzene in its and other companies’ acne products. 

Stock Futures Climb Ahead of Jobs Data

March 06, 2024 08:34 AM EST

Futures contracts connected to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3% in premarket trading on Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures gained 0.5%.

Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.9% higher about an hour before markets opened.

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