The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has lost 13 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a slightly negative start to the stock market today. The Dow isn't likely to find much direction from global stocks, which stayed put in overnight trading: Europe's STOXX index was flat at 7:30 a.m. EST after making big moves over the last few sessions.
Still, some individual companies will post large swings today despite that quiet start for the Dow. In fact, news is breaking on several stocks that should see heavy trading in today's session, including lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU ) , Accenture (NYSE: ACN ) and Fred's (NASDAQ: FRED ) .
Lululemon stock was down 0.12% in pre-market trading after the company announced fourth-quarter earnings that narrowly beat expectations. The clothing retailer saw net sales rise by 7% to $521 million as earnings held steady at $0.75 a share. Wall Street had targeted $515 million in sales and $0.72 a share in profit. Beyond that slight beat there wasn't much to rave about in these results. Comparable-store sales fell by 2% and profitability shrunk by 3 percentage points to 53.5% of sales. The company expects comps to stay slightly negative this quarter as well, to begin what CEO Laurent Potdevin called an "investment year" for lululemon.
Accenture today posted earnings results for its fiscal second quarter that just missed Wall Street estimates. The consulting and IT services giant took in $7.13 billion in sales, up 1% from last year but below the $7.21 billion that analysts expected. Profit, at $1.03 a share, was a penny shy of targets as well. Looking beyond those headline results, Accenture had a solid quarter: operating profit held steady at 13.3% of sales and the company ended the quarter with over $10 billion in new contract bookings. Accenture now expects sales growth for the full year to be between 3% and 6%, up slightly from its prior estimate of 2% to 6% growth. The stock lost 1.8% in pre-market trading.
Finally, pharmacy and grocery retailer Fred's this morning booked disappointing results for its fourth quarter. Sales fell by 6% to $495 million and profit shrunk by 10% to $134 million. Fred's management pointed to a big spike in costs for generic drugs, which crimped earnings in its pharmacy business. The harsh winter weather that hurt most retailers also took its toll, the company said. Management said it expects both of those issues to continue into the first quarter of this year. Fred's stock was unchanged in pre-market trading.
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