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What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Aug 5, 2016 at 6:11PM

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Why Lionsgate and FireEye stocks posted big moves as indexes surged higher on Friday.

Lifted by a strong job-market reading, stocks ended the trading week with solid gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI 1.87% ) and S&P 500 ( ^GSPC 1.17% ) both rose by nearly 1% on Friday.

Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage change

Point change

Dow

1%

190

S&P 500

0.9%

19

Source: Yahoo Finance.

The economy created 255,000 jobs in July, the government said Friday morning -- growth that significantly outpaced estimates targeting 180,000 new jobs. Other bright spots in the report included a 2.6% jump in wages and positive revisions for job gains in the prior two months. The economy has now grown at an average of 190,000 jobs per month since May. 

Employed persons since 2006. Source: Federal Reserve Economic Data.

Individual stocks that posted big swings included Lionsgate ( LGF-A 1.26% ) and FireEye ( FEYE 0.99% ). Here's why investors sent shares of those companies moving on Friday.

Lionsgate opens up about its merger plans

Lionsgate's stock spiked by as much as 11% before settling down to an 9% gain for the day. The TV and movie content specialist posted a sharp decline in second-quarter earnings, but that dip was all about an unusual spike in expenses. Strip those out and Lionsgate's underlying operating trends looked strong across its business segments. Feature film and TV revenue rose 35% as the television side tripled its output and the movie segment benefited from profitable releases like Nerve and Now You See Me 2. Lionsgate's backlog, comprised of contracted but not yet billed revenue, rose to a record $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion at the start of the year. 

Investors were just as interested in hearing management's updated thoughts on the $4.4 billion purchase of Starz ( STRZA ) that the company announced in late June. That deal will create a major player in the content industry, executives said, with roughly $1 billion of annual spending on television and $800 million on motion pictures. The combined company will enjoy more predictable profits, "which enables us to capture the upside from the increased content investment without increasing the risk profile," CEO Jon Feltheimer told investors in a post-earnings conference call .

As for cost savings, Feltheimer and his team project that the merger will save around $200 million per year in a deal that should be "extremely accretive to shareholders." Wall Street agreed with that assessment and bid the stock higher on Friday.

FireEye misses growth targets again

FireEye's stock sank by 12% to bring its 12-month loss to a brutal 67%. The latest decline was powered by second-quarter results that fell short of management's projections. Sales rose 19%, but were below the low end of guidance issued in early May. Billings, which predict future growth, were also light at $196 million.

The security software specialist sliced its full year sales outlook and revenue is now expected to be $721 million compared to the $795 million executives forecast last quarter. "Total billings and revenue were below our expectations," CEO Kevin Mandia said in a press release.

Image source: Getty Images.

There were bright spots in the report as well. Gross profit margin was 73% -- higher than forecast as FireEye managed better profits in both its product sales and subscription and services sales. That improvement, combined with discipline around expenses, powered a sharp improvement in operating margin that produced a smaller-than-expected net loss.

FireEye has several new and upgraded security products in its pipeline that management believes will help turn the tide back toward healthier revenue growth. Meanwhile, it plans more aggressive cost cuts in the coming months to lower its expense structure even further. Investors aren't likely to turn optimistinc on the stock until they have confidence that management can hit its sales targets.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Stock Quote
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
LGF-A
$15.26 (1.26%) $0.19
FireEye, Inc. Stock Quote
FireEye, Inc.
FEYE
$16.25 (0.99%) $0.16
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$35,227.03 (1.87%) $646.95
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,591.67 (1.17%) $53.24
Starz Stock Quote
Starz
STRZA

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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