Stock Market Today: Big Lots Surprises and Lions Gate Disappoints

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has lost 17 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a flat start for stocks today. Still, the Dow could easily close out the month on a high note: the average is just 0.1%, or 16 points, below the record high it set on May 13. 

Meanwhile, Big Lots (NYSE: BIG  ) and Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF  ) stocks are on the move this morning after the companies delivered their quarterly earnings numbers.

Big Lots today posted better than expected earnings results for its fiscal first quarter while boosting its outlook for the full year. The closeout retailer's revenue ticked higher by 1.1% to $1.28 billion, which was just ahead of the $1.26 billion that Wall Street was targeting. Big Lots saw comparable-store sales growth of 1%, for a nice turnaround from the 3% drop it booked a quarter back. Profit also came in ahead of estimates, although it shrank to $0.50 a share from last year's $0.70 haul. Looking ahead, the company said it now expects comparable-store sales growth in the range of 1% to 3%, up from a prior forecast of between 0% and 2%. Big Lots also expects annual profit of roughly $2.42 a share, or a bit higher than the $2.35 that analysts were looking for. The stock was up 12.6% in pre-market trading.

Lions Gate shares were down nearly 6% in pre-market trading after the company last night posted a surprising drop in revenue. Quarterly sales were $721 million, compared to last year's $786 million and Wall Street's expectation for $827 million in revenue. Still, the entertainment company beat analysts' profit forecasts for the fifth quarter in a row by booking earnings of $0.46 a share.

That revenue shortfall may have been partly due to the company's hit film Divergent being released just 10 days prior to the quarter's close, which didn't leave much time for the movie to make big sales contributions. Still, CEO Jon Feltheimer sounded an optimistic tone about the future, saying in a press release that the company has laid the groundwork for solid growth thanks to "the depth of our content pipelines and the ongoing generation of predictable income from film franchises, television properties and filmed entertainment library."

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