The Dow Drops, Plus SeaWorld and Fossil Report Washed-Out Earnings

The two things you need to know on May 15.

May 14, 2014 at 11:00PM
You win some...and you lose some. Fresh after setting records like New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the NHL playoffs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) dropped a hefty 101 points on Wednesday as investors pulled back from their recent gains.

1. SeaWorld stock drowns in the 1st Quarter
Attendance was down in the first quarter for SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS). The operator of places you dreamt of going to as a kid -- Busch Gardens, Water Country, and the aforementioned legend SeaWorld -- suffered a loss of $49 million in the first three months of 2014. The driver was poor attendance, even though the quarter is only 12% to 15% of business usually.
SeaWorld was privately owned by the private equity arm of Blackstone until It went public last year with an IPO. SeaWorld's CEO took off his snorkel equipment and highlighted the profit the company made in its first full year as a public company -- plus, he mentioned an interesting upcoming contract nearing completion to bring SeaWorld to the Middle East.
Has BlackFish hurt sales? You might have heard about the 2013 documentary that shows the dark side of holding killer whales in captivity, including drowning of trainers by the mighty mammals, which is not fun for anyone. Some musicians refused to perform at SeaWorld after seeing the controversial film, but the CEO said in March it "has had not impact on their business."
Well, OK, but Disney is often compared to SeaWorld, and Mickey's theme parks saw increased attendance in the first quarter, while SeaWorld's dropped 13%, which it attributed to a late Easter (that wasn't in the first quarter) and weird spring-break timing. But why didn't late Easter eggs and confused spring breakers have the same effect on Disney World? Wall Street was just as skeptical and sold the stock to a 1.9% loss Wednesday.

2. Outlook for Fossil watches breaks the stock
Things weren't looking trendy for the maker of your dad's favorite Father's Day gift -- a Fossil watch. Shares of jewelry and accessories designer Fossil Group (NASDAQ:FOSL) dropped 10.3% Wednesday after reporting first-quarter earnings that lacked some shine -- revenue increased only slightly from the previous year from $680.9 million to $776.5 million in the first three months of the year.

So why did investors find Fossil's numbers to be off? Because it's (ironically) all about "timing" -- during the earnings report, Fossil execs lowered their outlook for the rest of 2014. Those smooth-looking Fossil "weathered" watch faces may look all-American on your wrist, but across North America, dipping mall sales have sent overall retail sales down 2.4% for Fossil compared with 2013.

The takeaway is that while Wall Street isn't a fan of the company's U.S.-centric outlook, across the pond, foreigners are "digging" for Fossils. While the company's leather business hasn't taken off, overall sales driven by watch demand rose 14.5% in Europe from last year and jumped 23.6% in Asia. Now those are fashionable numbers, Fossil.
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Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Fossil and Walt Disney and owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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