Stock Market Today: CVS Beats the Flu and Estee Lauder Looks Beautiful

Why CVS Caremark and Estee Lauder stocks are on the move today.

May 2, 2014 at 9:00AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained 17 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Investors can expect stocks to move significantly as investors digest the latest jobs update from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Employment Situation Summary report this morning showed that the economy added 288,000 jobs in April, significantly ahead of the 210,000 that economists were expecting and also well above the 190,000 average monthly gain over the last 12 months. The unemployment rate took a surprising dip as well, falling to 6.3% from last month's 6.7% reading. Job growth looked solid and broad based, and while these number will be revised in the months to come, they are evidence of an economic recovery that is gaining steam. 

Meanwhile, individual stocks on the move this morning include CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) and Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL), which both posted quarterly earnings results before the opening bell.


CVS Caremark this morning booked a 6% sales improvement for the first quarter, along with a 23% spike in earnings. Revenue for the pharmacy giant was $32.7 billion while adjusted profit came in at $1.02 a share. Analysts had expected slightly lower sales results and slightly higher earnings. CVS said same-store sales grew by just 1.4% in the quarter, held back by a weaker flu season and bad winter weather. Nevertheless, CEO Larry Merlo said in a press release accompanying the results that management is "confident in our ability to achieve our 2014 goals." The company affirmed its full-year outlook, which calls for adjusted earnings of roughly $4.45, or 11% better than last year. The stock was down 1% in pre-market trading.

Estee Lauder today posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that saw sales climb by 11% and adjusted earnings leap by 43%. Those impressive results were powered by a 33% spike in profit from its skin-care line, which was boosted by several popular new lotion introductions. Investors are probably even more happy that the beauty giant's profitability improved by almost 30%, with operating margin rising to 13.4% from last year's 10.7% mark. Looking ahead, Estee Lauder has a strong pipeline of new products in the works for the rest of the year, which gave management confidence to raise its earnings guidance slightly, to $2.88 a share. The stock was up 2.4% in pre-market trading.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Caremark. 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.

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