IBM Weighs on Dow

IBM weighs on Dow
It was a mixed day in the market for stocks. The current environment will reward astute high quality stock pickers who know how to avoid the dangerous landmines that have weighed on the market thus far in 2014. The Dow Jones Industrial average finished Wednesday with a small loss of 41 points. Hurting the index was the performance from International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM). That technology bellwether was down more than 3%. The company beat earnings expectations, but missed on revenue estimates. A sales decline in hardware was the culprit and put investors in a sour mode. Other technology stocks fared better today as the technology laden Nasdaq gained nearly ½%. The Standard & Poors 500 Index again finished flat.
Advanced Micro Devices plunges
The stock market today delivered another earnings disappointment in the chip sector. Last week it was Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). Today it was Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD). The recovering chip maker reported earnings that beat estimates by the proverbial penny per share, but revenue guidance for the first quarter was light. Investors choose to lock in profits from last year’s impressive run. Shares fell by nearly 12% closing at $3.67 per share. Wells Fargo increased its estimates for the company and maintained an Outperform rating on the stock.
Brinker International gets fat on earnings
Shares of restaurant operator Brinker International (NYSE: EAT) gained 6% today after the company reported impressive results. Consumers are flocking to the casual dining space. With properties like Chile’s and Maggiano’s, Brinker posted adjusted profits of 59 cents per share. That beat estimates by a penny per share. Revenues also beat expectations. The company is very optimistic about the second half of fiscal year 2014 ending June 30, 2014. Citigroup maintained a buy rating on the stock.
Coach shares sink on poor results
On the flip side shares of luxury consumer goods company Coach (NYSE: COH) missed earnings estimates badly and the stock sank 6% as a result. The company made $1.06 per share versus an expectation of $1.12. Revenues also missed the number. The big disaster for Coach was in North America where same store sales dropped by 14%. Stifel did not see the report as being all that bad. I’m not so sure I would agree.
Nu Skin shares rebound on analyst recommendation
Much maligned Nu Skin (NYSE: NUS) caught a break today as Deutsche Bank supported the company saying that issues in China may be short term in nature. In addition Deutsche sees the result of government investigation into the company’s marketing practices as being a modest fine. They maintain a buy rating on the stock that plunged on worries about it being a pyramid scheme. The stock is up more than 5% today. Deutsche has a target on the stock of $115 per share.
Icahn puts pressure on Apple
Shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) had a small boost as activist investor Carl Icahn chastised management for not doing more with respect to a buy-back of stock. It’s hard to argue with him as Apple has some $150 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Icahn believes Apple shares would appreciate greatly with a meaningful and aggressive share buy-back campaign. Apple shares finished higher by ½%. Well, that’s it for this edition of the Stock Market Today. Check back regularly for new updates and feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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