Market volatility continued Wednesday, with early gains for stocks giving way to late-day fear about the potential for escalation in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Even though favorable economic data pointed to continued strength in the U.S. economy, investors have grown concerned about the perception that the stock market is unsustainably pricey at current levels. Even with declines of between 0.5% and 1.5% for major market benchmarks, though, Movado Group (NYSE:MOV), Steelcase (NYSE:SCS), and Yongye International (NASDAQ:YONG) all jumped substantially today.
Movado climbed 10% after the watchmaker announced its quarterly earnings results this morning. Movado's adjusted earnings crushed estimates by more than 50%, with adjusted gross margins climbing slightly to support the company's 13% revenue growth. At the same time, Movado's guidance was positive, with an expected 19% rise in operating income helping to raise overall earnings per share estimates. Dividend investors also got their share of good news, as Movado chose to raise its dividend by 25% to $0.10 per share. As a result of the positive news, Movado got some positive moves from analysts today, helping to support its rising share price.
Business-furniture maker Steelcase jumped 12% following its own favorable earnings report last night. An 8% jump in sales was enough to produce better than expected profits, with particular strength coming from its Americas segment. Falling sales in the Europe/Middle East/Africa segment threw some cold water on the results, but Steelcase nevertheless earned positive outlooks from analysts looking at the report. With backlogs having risen substantially, an improving economic environment in the U.S. and in certain other areas of the world could bode well for Steelcase's profits in the long run.
Yongye soared 13% as the Chinese agricultural company got an increased offer from investors seeking to take the company private. A group of investors is now willing to pay $7 per share, up from a previous offer of $6.69 per share that shareholders rejected earlier this month. The arguments that shareholders opposed to the original offer made was that it was insufficient to reflect Yongye's long-term prospects, and it's unlikely that a few extra dimes per share will be enough to sway that opinion. The question, though, is whether those shareholders on the margin are willing to reverse their previous no votes and allow the going-private transaction to go through.
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