Morning Movers: Stocks Surge as Mattel, Hasbro Sink on Toys R Us Liquidation Fears

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to open higher following a stronger-than-expected payrolls report, today's Morning Movers looks at ...

...the downside of today's strong jobs number; Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT) are getting hit by the possibility of a Toys R Us liquidation; ...considers Mark Warner's talk at South by Southwest in today's View From Silicon Valley.

Wowzers. Stocks are climbing this morning as the combination of a large increase in payrolls and muted wage growth proved music to the market's ears.


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S&P 500 futures have risen 0.7%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures have gained 179 points, or 0.7%. Nasdaq Composite futures have climbed 0.7%. The 10-year Treasury yield has risen 0.026 percentage point to 2.892%.

The U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, well above forecasts for 200,000, while average hourly wages rose just 0.15%, below estimates for 0.3%. And it's easy to see why the market, which had been concerned with rising inflation forcing the Fed to hike interest rates more quickly, would love it. But is it really that easy? Deutsche Bank's Alan Ruskin doesn't think so. That's because growth was so strong that inflation concerns won't be put to rest so easily, and the 10-Treasury yield should continue its rise toward 3%. "This is a tricky report to trade off," Ruskin says. "In short, the lasting impression will be less risk friendly than the immediate low inflation- strong growth headlines suggest, because the growth elements are so exceptionally strong."

Just not this morning. - Ben Levisohn

Big Lots (BIG) is down 10% to $48.48 following its fourth-quarter earnings. The discounter said it earned $2.57 a share on revenue of $1.64 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.43 a share on revenue of $1.65 billion. Comparable sales slipped 0.1% in the quarter, below the company's guidance. For the full year it sees earnings per share between $4.75 and $4.95, below the $5.06 consensus, and same-store sales to increase in the low single-digit range. It said its board of directors authorized a $100 million stock repurchase plan and 20% dividend raise as well.

Burlington Stores (BURL) is up 0.9% to $123.98 after Loop Capital initiated coverage with a Buy rating. It also initiated coverage of Urban Outfitters (URBN) at Buy. Both retailers reported earnings this week.

Finisar (FNSR) is down 10.5% to $18.10 after reporting third-quarter earnings. The fiber optic component company said it earned 20 cents a share on revenue of $332.4 million, while analysts were looking for earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $333.15 million. For the current quarter, it sees earnings between 9 cents and 15 cents a share on revenue of $300 million to $320 million, compared to the consensus estimates of 21 cents a share in earnings on $332.01 million in revenue.


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Hasbro (HAS) is down 3% to $90.58 and Mattel (MAT) is off 5.1% to $15.15 on reports that Toys R Us may liquidate operations.

Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) is down 2.5% to $23.72 after its fourth-quarter earnings. The chip maker said it earned 32 cents a share on revenue of $615 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $611 million. For the current quarter it sees earnings per share of 29 cents to 33 cents on revenue of $585 million to $615 million, compared to the 29 cents per share and $591 million consensus.

Qualcomm (QCOM) is up 0.3% to $62 after raising its quarterly cash dividend by a nickel, to 62 cents a share. It's the latest move amid plenty of drama surrounding Broadcom's (AVGO) hostile takeover bid.

VeriFone Systems (PAY) is down 1.3% to $17.81 after reporting first-quarter earnings. The payments processor said it earned 23 cents a share on revenue of $425 million, while analysts were looking for earnings of 22 cents a share on revenue of $419.4 million. For the full year, it sees earnings of $1.47 to $1.50 a share on revenue of $1.775 billion to $1.8 billion, compared to the $1.48 per share and $1.8 billion consensus estimates.

United Continental (UAL) is flat after saying February traffic was up 5.7%, with a 3.8% increase in capacity. The airline expects first-quarter passenger unit revenue to climb 0.2%.

Wendy's (WEN) is up 2.5% to $17.54 on news its CFO purchased 5,000 shares.

Williams Cos. (WMB) is up 1.2% to $27.47 after JPMorgan upgraded it to Overweight. - Teresa Rivas

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is ready to talk about social media's impact on the 2016 presidential election, and we all should be listening carefully.


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The vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled on Saturday to deliver one of the more compelling talks at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, which has sorely lacked headline-making news the past few years.

What Warner says could offer more insight into what he and his committee intend to do about the growing influence Facebook (FB), Alphabet's Google (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR) on politics and society. Warner and fellow Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., are behind the "Honest Ads Act" bill that would subject online political ads to the same rules and restrictions as advertisements on TV and radio.

Facebook and Twitter, he pointedly said recently, are "one significant event away from people losing faith" in their platforms. He added, it was "naive at best and disingenuous at worst, that the companies aren't willing to kind of step up and do more to help."

SXSW has produced eye-opening political talks that made for great theater - whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared via satellite link in 2014 to discuss privacy and technology -- but lost out last year when former FBI Director James Comey bowed out at the last minute for political reasons.

Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama both appeared in 2016, but their talks generated minimal headlines.

The appearance of Warner, barring a late cancellation, would be a welcome return to SXSW's activist roots. - Jon Swartz

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

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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