Top Consumer Stocks
Consumer stocks were broadly split between winners and losers Thursday, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 sinking about 0.1% in afternoon trading while shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were riding a more than 0.9% advance.
In industry news:
Walmart ( WMT ) traded higher for the first time in three days Thursday after the company said it was increasing its starting wage to $11 per hour as well as giving eligible employees a one-time, $1,000 bonus and extending its maternity leave.
Also, growth in global auto sales is expected to slow during 2018 from their record-breaking pace seen in 2017, according to a new IHS Markit forecast out Thursday. Light vehicle sales for last year are expected to increase 2.4% world-wide to 94.5 million units, IHS said, also predicting light vehicle sales will likely grow around 1.5% during 2018 to 95.9 million units. U.S. vehicle sales could fall 1.7% from year-ago levels to 16.9 million units during 2018, the analytics company said. That compares with expectations for 0.7% growth in western Europe, a 0.2% rise in China and a 7.3% increase in south Asia. Other bright spots are Russia and Brazil, growing 15.9% and 12.5%, respectively. Japanese sales this year are seen falling 2.4%.
Among consumer stocks moving on news:
+ Post Holdings ( POST ) climbed as much a 4% on Thursday, touching a session high of $82.46 a share, after the packaged food company said it is exploring a range of strategic alternatives for its private brands business. Among the options Post is considering for the unit producing peanut and other nut butters, dried fruit and nuts, pasta and granola products are an initial public offering as well as a private placement of equity, a sale or some other business combination. Meanwhile, Post also said it expects to close its acquisition of Bob Evans Farms ( BOBE ) Friday Jan. 12.
In other sector news:
+ Delta Air Lines ( DAL ) was higher Thursday after the air carrier surpassed analyst expectations in its fiscal Q4, including an 8.3% increase in revenue to $10.25 billion, beating the Capital IQ consensus looking for $10.13 billion in quarterly sales. Excluding one-time items, it earned $0.96 per share, up from an $0.82 per share non-GAAP profit last year and beating the analyst mean by $0.08 per share. Looking forward, Delta is expecting total revenue growth of between 2.5% to 4.5% during 2018.
- Lulelemon Athletica ( LULU ) declined slightly despite analysts at Oppenheimer Thursday raising their price target for the yoga-wear company's stock by $13 to $88 a share.