Stocks spent most of today's session in the red but finished essentially unchanged as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) closed down 11 points, or 0.07%, while the S&P 500 finished up 0.03%. On a day with no major economic releases, investors seemed to keep their eye on international affairs in Ukraine and China. The European Union prepared a framework for sanctions against Russia, and worries about China's economic slowdown resurfaced thanks to weak export figures released earlier this week and copper prices approaching a four-year low, a sign of declining global industrial activity.
Among stocks making news after hours today was Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM ) , whose shares jumped 7% on a strong earnings report. The home-products retailer said earnings per share improved from $1.34 to $1.38, better than estimates at $1.35 a share. Revenue improved 10% on an even calendar basis, on a 10.4% increase in comparable brand sales to $1.47 billion, ahead of the consensus at $1.43 billion. CEO Laura Alber said that the company "outperformed the retail industry this holiday season, gaining market share and demonstrating the structural advantage of our multi-brand, multi-channel platform." Also pleasing investors was the company's decision to lift its dividend 6% from $0.31 to $0.33, though EPS guidance for the current year of $3.05-$3.15 was short of the consensus of $3.20. Still with core brands like Pottery Barn and West Elm growing organically by double digits, the company's position looks strong going forward.
Meanwhile, shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD ) were hopping out of the fryer after hours today, gaining 10% after reporting earnings. The doughnut chain actually missed estimates on both the top and bottom lines, as its EPS of $0.12 was a penny short of estimates. Revenues increased 3.3% on an even calendar basis to $112.7 million with a same-store sales uptick of 1.6%, but that missed the consensus at $118.8 million. Still, investors cheered the company's decision to raise its share-repurchase authorization to $80 million from $50 million, and it lifted its current-year EPS guidance to a range of $0.73-$0.79, in line with estimates of $0.75.
Finally, shares of Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN ) were taking a spill, down 3.4%, as a lack of snow in the Lake Tahoe region put a dent in earnings during the all-important winter ski season. Earnings per share fell from $1.65 to $1.60, missing estimates of $1.88, while revenue increased 7% to $452.7 million, below the consensus at $471.2 million. Separately, Vail announced it was doubling its quarterly dividend to $0.415, giving investors a yield of 2.4%. Considering the unpredictable nature of the weather and therefore earnings for Vail, investors may want to overlook the bottom-line miss for now and take solace in the generous dividend hike.
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