Stock Market News: Pier 1 Accelerates Store Closures; Alcoa Falls on Earnings

U.S. stocks were mixed on Thursday morning, with major indexes waffling between positive and negative territory as investors absorbed a slew of quarterly reports. The markets also wavered in anticipation of the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) was up 46 points to 26,496, the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) had fallen 5 points to 2,986, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) dropped 16 points to 7,665.

As for individual stocks, shares of Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) and Alcoa (NYSE: AA) plunged in the wake of both companies posting steeper-than-expected quarterly losses.

Pier 1 is about to get (even) smaller

Pier 1 stock plummeted 19% after the home furnishings and decor retailer announced dismal fiscal fourth-quarter 2019 results. Net sales fell 19.5% year over year to $412.5 million, spurred by a 13.7% decline in comparable-store sales, 30 store closures over the past year, and a shift in certain holiday-selling days. On the bottom line, that translated into a net loss of $68.8 million, or $0.85 per share, compared to adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of $0.21 per share in the year-ago period.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a net loss of only $0.22 per share on revenue of $426.1 million.

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Image source: Getty Images.

What's more, Pier 1 not only says it's weighing whether to close up to another 45 locations in fiscal 2020 as leases expire, but also warned it could shutter as much as 15% of its total 973-store base -- or roughly 146 locations -- if it's "unable to achieve performance goals, sales targets, and reductions in occupancy and other costs."

In a separate press release, Pier 1 also announced the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Nancy Walsh. Stepping in as interim CFO is Deborah Rieger-Paganis, a retail industry and turnaround veteran who currently serves as a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners.

Alocoa's underwhelming quarter

Shares of Alcoa fell 5% following the release of the aluminum producer's first-quarter 2019 report. Quarterly revenue declined 12% year over year to $2.719 billion, translating into an adjusted net loss of $43 million, or $0.23 per share, compared to net income of $1.01 per share in the year-ago period. Most analysts were modeling a narrower net loss of $0.13 per share on revenue of $2.81 billion.

Still, CEO Roy Harvey said that the company improved operations despite weakening alumina and aluminum prices during the quarter.

"We will work to realize the benefits of the strategic actions we've already taken as we remain focused on safety and operational excellence," Harvey elaborated. "We will also continue to review our assets for their ability to compete across all market cycles, all to strengthen the long-term position of the company."

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