Consumer Sector Update for 05/15/2018: ULTA,UNFI,ALK,HD

Top Consumer Stocks

WMT -0.13%

MCD -1.04%

DIS +0.16%

CVS -1.81%

KO -1.14%

Consumer stocks have turned solidly lower today, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 sinking over 0.6% this afternoon while shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were dropping more than 0.8%, reversing an earlier gain.

In industry news:

Same store sales at 20 of the largest retail chain stores rose 4.9% year over year during the seven days ended May 12, according to the weekly Redbook survey. The 0.7-percentage point increase compared with the prior week matched the fastest rate of growth since December. Month-to-date sales also were higher, rising 0.8% over the first two weeks in April while the full month year-over-year gain jumped 1.6 percentage points to 4.9%, marking the fastest pace of growth in over three years.

Among consumer stocks moving on news:

+ Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance ( ULTA ) was hanging on to a 1% gain late in Tuesday trading, giving back roughly half of a more than 2% advance, that followed analysts at Oppenheimer today raising their investment rating for the cosmetics and beauty aids company to Outperform from Perform.

In other sector news:

+ United Natural Foods ( UNFI ) was more than 2% higher Tuesday afternoon, easing somewhat from a nearly 3% advance earlier in the session that followed the food distribution company said chief operating officer Sean Griffin will transition out of his current position on August 1 ahead of his formal retirement on October 1. The company also said it is promoting Chris Testa, currently president of United's Atlantic region, to succeed Griffin.

- Alaska Air Group ( ALK ) declined Tuesday despite reporting a 5.8% increase in April traffic following an 8.7% increase in capacity over April 2017 levels. Load factor for the airline fell 2.3 percentage points to 84.3% last month while its mainline operations saw a 4.4% increase in April traffic and a 7.4% rise in capacity compared with year-ago levels. Load factor fell 2.4 percentage points to 84.8%. Regional traffic rose 23.4% last month following a 23.8% year-over-year increase in capacity.

- Home Depot ( HD ) declined Tuesday, dropping as much as 2.6%, after the home-improvement retailer missed Wall Street forecasts with its Q1 revenue and also reaffirmed its below-consensus FY18 earnings guidance. Total revenue for the company fell 4.2% from year-ago levels to $24.95 billion during the three months ended April 29 from $23.89 billion during the same quarter last year and trailed the Capital IQ consensus expecting $25.17 billion in Q1 revenue. Net income rose to $2.08 per share from $1.67 per share last year and topping the analyst consensus by $0.04 per share. The company also is continuing to project FY18 net income of $9.31 per share, lagging the Street view by $0.07 per share. It also raised its sales outlook by 0.2 percentage points over its prior forecast, now expecting 6.7% year-over-year growth to around $107.66 billion, roughly in-line with the $107.72 billion Street view.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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