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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Stocks edged higher today as investors seemed ambivalent about the direction of the market with major indexes near record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) finished the day up 24 points, or 0.15%, in choppy trading, while the S&P 500 moved up 0.4%. ExxonMobil led the blue chips today, gaining 2.5%, as it seemed to get an additional bounce from last week's earnings beat. The only economic report out today was factory orders, which missed expectations in both August and September. Still, demand picked up in September by 1.7% after dipping 0.1% in August. Investors may also be playing it cautious as they await Friday's jobs report.
Tech stocks seemed to steal the spotlight today. BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY ) stock fell 16% as the troubled smartphone maker said it would back out of a proposed bid to sell itself, and CEO Thorsten Heins stepped down from his leadership post. Investors had hoped that Fairfax Financial, Blackberry's largest shareholder, would buy the company outright, but Fairfax said it would instead invest $1 billion as part of a plan to take the company in a new direction. Operating losses have been piling up for the once-dominant phone maker, and investors seemed to view a potential sale as the best way of salvaging any remaining value. With the selection of Interim CEO John Chen, analysts seem to think the company will change its focus to software and services instead of devices.
Elsewhere, Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) bumped its IPO price range to $23-$25 a share from $17-$20, which could raise $2 billion for the upstart social network, and sources said the final offer price could be even higher. IPOs including Noodles & Company, Potbelly, and The Container Store have spiked on opening day this year, so it's no surprise to see 2013's most hotly anticipated stock debut up its price. The current price range would value Twitter at up to $13.6 billion, much less than the $104 billion that Facebook kicked off at. Shares are expected to begin trading Thursday.
Finally, LeapFrog Enterprises (UNKNOWN: LF.DL ) fell 10% after hours as investors were put off by its guidance in its quarterly report. CEO John Barbour cited "a weak retail climate and growing concern surrounding the holiday season" for the lowered guidance. For the full year, the company now expects sales of $570 million to $590 million, in line with last year, but well below estimates of $631.6 million. Its new EPS range of $0.36-$0.46 was also well below expectations of $0.62. Considering revenue has increased 9% this year thus far, management's guidance seems much too conservative, as it also assumes a profit of just about $0.15 in the fourth quarter, even though the holiday quarter is generally stronger than the back-to-school period for the educational toymaker. I'd expect LeapFrog to fly over this low bar.
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