Stocks pushed into record territory again on Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes each finished near session highs and added nearly 0.5%.
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Financial stocks were some of the biggest daily gainers, which pushed the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF) up by over 1%. Meanwhile, exchange-traded funds tied to the volatile price of gold continued to attract heavy investor interest. The leveraged Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT) had a slight 0.24% decline.
As for individual stocks, Molson Coors Brewing (NYSE: TAP) and Hibbett Sports (NASDAQ: HIBB) both made large moves following earnings news.
Molson Coors looks to press its size advantage
Molson Coors shares rose 3% after the alcoholic beverage giant's fourth-quarter report showed improving sales trends. Beer volume rose by 1%, compared to a 4% decrease in the prior quarter. Adjusted earnings, which strips out the negative impact of a huge impairment charge, flipped to a 5% gain from a slight decline last quarter. The increase helped the company end the year with rising profits and a less-than-1% decline in worldwide beer volume for the full year.
Interest costs soared in conjunction with new debt brought on by its $12 billion MillerCoors brand portfolio purchase. But executives believe that merger, which brings all its global beer brands under one operating umbrella for the first time, will power solid gains for investors. "With the completion of the transaction and the changes we are making to align and enhance our organization," CEO Mark Hunter said in a press release, "the building blocks are in place for our company to drive top-line growth, profit, cash generation, debt pay-down, and total shareholder return in the years ahead."
Hunter and his team said that the acquisition will begin kicking in a significant earnings contribution this year. Molson Coors also aims to reap major cost benefits from the merger over the next three years as it cashes in on scale advantages inherent in operating as the third-largest global brewer.
Hibbett Sports has a rough holiday
Hibbett Sports shares slumped 12% after the regional sporting goods retailer warned investors that it would not hit the fourth-quarter guidance management issued in November. Sales fell 2.2% at existing locations over the holiday period, the company revealed in preliminary earnings results, compared to a 0.7% increase in the prior quarter.
Declining customer traffic trends also forced management to adopt a more aggressive promotions strategy, which hurt profitability. As a result, the company lowered its full-year earnings target. "We were disappointed with sales in the fourth quarter," CEO Jeff Rosenthal said in a press release.
Looking ahead, the retailer sees two major issues combining to produce weak earnings in 2018: soft sales growth and increased spending on its e-commerce initiatives. Rosenthal and his team project profit to weigh in at a midpoint of just $2.75 per share, far below the $3.09 per share that analysts were targeting. Given the sales growth slowdown and deteriorating profit outlook, it makes sense that investors reacted by sending the stock lower ahead of its official fourth-quarter results due out on March 10.
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