Why Nordstrom, Fossil Group, and Chesapeake Energy Moved the S&P 500 Last Week

The S&P 500  (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) had a particularly volatile week, with several days in which the index made substantial moves. In the end, the ups and downs largely cancelled each other out, with the S&P 500 falling by less than a single point for the week. But inside the S&P 500, you could see the tug of war between winning and losing stocks, as Nordstrom  (NYSE: JWN  ) posted substantial gains even as Fossil Group  (NASDAQ: FOSL  ) and Chesapeake Energy  (NYSE: CHK  ) suffered fairly large losses.

Source: Chesapeake Energy.

Nordstrom soared almost 15% as the retailer posted strong results in its first quarterly report of 2014. Same-store sales rose by 3.9% from the year-ago quarter, pulling overall revenue up by 6.5% and helping earnings climb above what investors had expected to see. In addition, even though the winter months have been weak for most retailers, Nordstrom was able to reiterate its full-year guidance in 2014. Nordstrom has pulled off an amazing balancing act between its namesake premium retail operations and its Nordstrom Rack discount stores, and as long as its emphasis on customer service continues to draw customers, Nordstrom should be able to excel in the long run.

Fossil Group dropped 8% after the watch and accessories company troubled investors with its most-recent quarterly report. Even though Fossil enjoyed 14% sales growth for the quarter, including even better growth in its watch segment, Fossil's earnings produced much less impressive gains. Moreover, guidance for Fossil's current quarter was less than shareholders had expected to see, with signs of slowing revenue growth raising fears that the stock won't be able to sustain even its fairly reasonable current valuation. With increasing competition in the accessories space, Fossil needs to have success in maintaining strong relationships with key licensing partners and finding new avenues for growth in areas like emerging markets.

Chesapeake Energy fell 7% after the oil and gas production company said that it would continue to restructure itself in order to improve its financial health. Chesapeake will spin off some of its assets into separately traded entities, assigning debt to those entities to help reduce the liabilities on its own corporate balance sheet. Meanwhile, further sales of non-core assets should help Chesapeake refocus on its most lucrative production opportunities. The sales will reduce Chesapeake's production volume marginally, but it could easily help the company succeed in the long run. 

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