Stock Market News: Tiffany Sparkles, but Brown-Forman Looks Hungover

The stock market saw another volatile open on Wednesday morning as major benchmarks rebounded from initial losses to climb toward better levels. As of 11:20 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) was up 118 points to 25,896. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) gained 9 points to 2,878, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) climbed a single point to 7,827.

The bulk of companies have already announced their quarterly earnings for the most recent period, but a few stragglers are still getting market participants' attention. Tiffany (NYSE: TIF) managed to get good news from its jewelry business, but Brown-Forman (NYSE: BF-A) (NYSE: BF-B) left investors wanting a bit more after the spirits company's latest results.

Tiffany deals with luxury retail headwinds

Shares of Tiffany were higher by 4% Wednesday morning after the luxury jeweler reported its second-quarter financial results. High-end retailers have had to deal with tough times, and Tiffany was no exception, but investors were pleased to see that things weren't worse.

Tiffany box with bow.

Image source: Tiffany.

Sales for the jeweler dropped 3% in the second quarter compared to year-earlier levels, with comparable sales declining 4%. Tiffany suffered weakness across its global footprint, with falling sales in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Revenue in Japan was flat from year-ago numbers. Tiffany saw a 10% drop in sales in its designer jewelry segment, with smaller declines for engagement jewelry and unchanged sales in jewelry collections.

CEO Alessandro Bogliolo highlighted a number of problems. Foreign tourists haven't spent as much money lately, and the key Hong Kong market has seen disruptions due to protests. Currency impacts across the globe have also weighed on results. Yet the CEO still sees a solid remainder of the year for Tiffany, and reiterated the company's sales and earnings outlooks.

Times are tough for retailers, but Tiffany has the brand strength to survive and thrive over the long run. Investors just have to be patient that the luxury retail market will turn higher in time.

Brown-Forman takes a bottom-line hit

Brown-Forman's stock fell almost 2% following the spirits maker's release of fiscal first-quarter financial results. Sales were roughly unchanged compared to year-ago levels, but earnings per share were down 6% over the same period.

The maker of Jack Daniel's and other premium spirits brands said that sales weakness was largely concentrated in developed international markets. In the U.S., revenue climbed 6%, and emerging markets had a more modest 1% rise in sales. Yet developed international markets saw a 5% drop on the top line, and the company mentioned tariff issues as a key detractor from performance.

Brown-Forman did say that consumer preferences toward certain beverages remained in place. Premium bourbon sales saw a 23% jump from year-ago levels, helped by the performance of the company's Woodford Reserve line. Other brands like the Herradura and el Jimador tequila lines also showed strong growth.

Jack Daniel's and other iconic spirits have been targets for trade partners looking for high-profile items on which to impose tariffs, and that's been detrimental for Brown-Forman. Yet consumers still have high demand for the company's products, and that should pay off for Brown-Forman in the long run.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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