The stock market started out September with little change as major market benchmarks finished the day narrowly mixed. Investors are generally fearful about the month that ends spring and begins fall, in part because historically, September has the worst market performance of any other month. Yet even though the Dow and S&P 500 spent much of the day trading decidedly lower, some investors believe that the seven-year-old bull market still has room to run higher before giving way to a more significant correction than we've seen for a long time. Some individual stocks also helped build momentum for the broader market, and Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MLCO), Oxford Industries (NYSE:OXM), and Ciena (NYSE:CIEN) were all substantially higher on Thursday.
Melco Crown wins from Macau's bounce-back
Melco Crown gained 7% after the latest report from the Asian gaming capital of Macau indicated performance that was better than expected. Gambling revenue climbed 1% to $2.4 billion, and that marked the first boost in the figure in more than two years. Many analysts following the industry had expected another small decline for Macau during August, and the news is especially important given the number of new projects expected to reach completion in the near future. With the new Wynn Palace having just opened, the gaming mecca will need to inspire greater travel from tourists in order for Melco and other companies with exposure to Macau to keep pace. For now, though, investors are satisfied that a potential end to the decline might already be in place.
Oxford dresses up well
Oxford Industries soared 16% in the wake of the release of its second-quarter financial report late Wednesday afternoon. The shoemaker said that net sales rose 13% compared to the previous year's period, and adjusted earnings of $1.48 per share were higher by a dime than the consensus forecast among investors. In particular, the Tommy Bahama line posted double-digit growth, with comparable-store sales increasing 7% and leading the way for the company. Oxford also affirmed its guidance to exceed the $1 billion mark in sales for the full year, and it still expects to earn $3.65 to $3.80 per share. Given the positive results, investors are starting to think that the tough times retailers and makers of consumer goods have suffered lately might finally have come to an end.
Ciena sees a clearer, brighter future
Finally, Ciena climbed 8%. The provider of fiber-optic networking products and services reported its fiscal third-quarter results, and investors were generally pleased despite seeing some figures that weren't quite as healthy as they had hoped. Ciena said revenue climbed 11%, which was just a bit slower than most had expected, but earnings of $0.42 per share were nearly 10% higher than the consensus forecast. The company has thus far done a good job of fighting off competitors and keeping its pricing strong, and although Ciena faces challenges in keeping its costs down, it still expects that it will be able to keep full-year expenses within its original budget. As interconnection becomes ever more a necessity, Ciena hopes to keep growing and meeting more of the rising demand in the industry.