Stock Market Today: A Fired Software CEO and a Jeweler’s Gleaming Profit

Why Symantec, Tiffany, and Darden Restaurants stocks are on the move today.

Mar 21, 2014 at 9:00AM
Longview

Look for a positive start to the stock market today: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained a moderate 25 points in pre-market trading. World markets booked solid gains overnight, with European stocks on pace to close their strongest week of the year.

The U.S. economic calendar is light today, but investors will be hearing a lot from the Federal Reserve. Four members of the central bank's rate-setting body are due to give speeches throughout the afternoon, and those talks should provide more clarity on the Fed's changing timetable for hiking interest rates.

Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on several stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), Tiffany (NYSE:TIF), and Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI).

Symantec shares were down 10% in pre-market trading after the antivirus software provider last night announced that it had fired CEO Steve Bennett and replaced him with an interim leader. Bennett took the CEO spot in July 2012, but the company's board of directors has been disappointed by the lack of progress in product innovation and revenue growth since then, according to the The Wall Street Journal. Efforts to turn around the business also haven't paid off for shareholders: Symantec's stock is down by 15% over the last year, while the broader market has risen by 20%. In announcing the CEO change, the company also affirmed its outlook for the current quarter, which calls for sales to fall by roughly 8%.      

Tiffany today announced results for its fourth quarter which included a 5% sales improvement to $1.3 billion. The jewelry maker also booked adjusted profit of $1.47 a share, which was only slightly below Wall Street's estimate of $1.52. Other good news included an uptick in profitability as gross margin rose by 1.4 percentage points to hit 60.5% of sales. However, investors may be a bit concerned with Tiffany's light profit guidance for 2014, which calls for earnings of $4.10 a share, below the $4.28 that analysts were targeting. Tiffany's stock was down nearly 2% in pre-market trading.

Finally, Darden Restaurants today booked a brutal 20% dip in profit for its fiscal third quarter. Earnings fell to $0.82 a share from $1.02 in the year-ago period. Revenue also ticked lower by 1.1% to $2.2 billion as Darden's flagship Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains continued to see big traffic declines: same-store sales fell by 5% and 9% for the two brands, respectively, in the quarter. Despite those negative business trends, the company was confident that it could meet its full-year earnings target thanks to aggressive cost reductions. The stock was down 2.2% pre-market trading. 

It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses and keep them for the long term. In the special free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers