After yesterday's sell-off on Ukraine concerns, stocks recovered strongly as tensions eased today as Russia pulled back troops from the border. President Vladimir Putin seemed to heed the warning signs from the market after Russian stocks fell 10% yesterday, and said that military force would only be used as a "last resort." As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) soared 228 points, or 1.4%, while the S&P 500 set another record at 1,874, gaining 1.5%. So-called safe haven assets like gold and treasuries fell.
There were no economic reports released today, though President Obama put out his 2015 budget, a $3.9 trillion outline that calls for additional spending on roads and bridges and an expansion of early childhood education, which would be funded by rolling back tax breaks on the wealthy. As such, the plan has little chance of passing a divided Congress, where Republicans control the House.
Radio Shack (NYSE: RSHCQ ) finished down 17% today after reporting earnings, and saying it would close 1,100 underperforming stores. The electronics retailer said comps fell a whopping 19% during a particularly tough holiday season as CEO Joseph Magnacca cited "intense promotional activity" and "a very soft mobility marketplace" for the poor performance. The company finished with an adjusted loss of $1.28 per share, well below analyst estimates of a $0.14-per-share loss. Radio Shack is just the latest retailer to be confronted with the cold realities of a changing economic landscape, and said it made the decision to close the 1,100 stores after a comprehensive review of its portfolio, but it would still have a strong presence in each market. In a potential bright spot, the company said it saw growth at its new Concept Stores. A full-on comeback for Radio Shack seems unlikely after a quarter like this, but I'd give new CEO Magnacca a little more time to implement his turnaround plan before leaving the stock for dead.
After hours, shares of Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC ) were firing higher, up 7% on a better-than-expected earnings report. The gun-maker posted a per-share profit of $0.35 a share, better than estimates of $0.29, while revenue ticked up 7.1% to $145.9 million, above the consensus at $142.3 million. CEO James Debney said the quarter reflected "the successful execution of our growth strategy," and the company also increased market share in the polymer pistol category as handgun revenue grew by 30% The quarter's result were also impressive considering that the post-Sandy Hook surge in gun-buying has faded away. Smith & Wesson's guidance for the current quarter was ahead of estimates at $0.37-$0.40 against the consensus at $0.35. At a P/E of just 9 and on its third straight earnings beat, the manufacturer continues to look like a solid value play.
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