Markets appeared to breathe a big sigh of relief when the Federal Reserve announced it would hold interest rates for the time being, but that it was still confident in the economy and a rate rise could come by year's end -- stop me if you've heard that before. But that alone was enough to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 higher mid-week, and it was enough to hold the markets for a sizable weekly gain of 0.76% and 1.20%, respectively.
So, now that we don't have to worry about interest rates for at least a weekend -- let's be honest, people will start worrying about interest rates as soon as next week -- let's take a look at a handful of companies making big moves or big headlines this week.
If FedEx is any indication...
Some investors use railroads as an indicator of how healthy the U.S. economy is, judging it by the amount of goods and carloads shipped. Some investors, therefore, use companies like FedEx Corporation (FDX -1.98%) to see if it indicates things are good at the moment. During FedEx's fiscal first-quarter 2017 all three of the company's business segments -- express, ground, and freight -- posted increases in not only revenue, but operating income as well.
FedEx's GAAP revenue checked in at $14.7 billion compared to last year's first-quarter mark of $12.3 billion. Its operating income jumped from last year's $1.14 billion up to $1.26 billion; that generated a diluted EPS of $2.65 during the first-quarter, up from $2.42 during the prior year. If you adjust and exclude for the TNT Express Integration and a couple of other factors, first-quarter EPS jumps to a non-GAAP $2.90 per share.
This was an excellent quarter for FedEx and it was one of the best performers in the S&P 500 this week with a near 10% gain. FedEx's strong first-quarter is the latest reason why we can expect a higher chance of the Federal Reserve raising rates in December -- whoops, we didn't even get to next week before worrying about that topic.
Are those vultures up there?
Shares of Twitter (TWTR) rose more than 20% during mid-day trading Friday after rumors circulated that there could be a few vultures, er, that there could be a few buyout offers for the young company. More formally, CNBC had this to say Friday morning: "Twitter has received expressions of interest from several technology or media companies and may receive a formal bid shortly." One name that was floating around as a potential buyer was salesforce.com (CRM 0.22%).
Perhaps furthering the rumor was none other than salesforce.com's digital chief who tweeted before clarifying it was a personal view.
Why @twitter?— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) September 23, 2016
1 personal learning network
2 the best realtime, context rich news
3 democratize intelligence
4 great place to promote others
At least for now, color me unconvinced that this deal makes a lot of sense for salesforce.com, if it ever comes to fruition. However, there's no denying Twitter investors are hopeful for the deal as the company's share price has plunged since its all-time high and is still below its IPO price, even after Friday's gain. But, there's no denying salesforce.com is interested in expanding into new areas via acquisitions; remember that the company attempted to buy LinkedIn Corp. before Microsoft Corp. won out. I love Twitter as a product, I'm less sure about it as an investment, but I'm definitely interested in seeing how this ends up.
Big fish, beware
In an interesting twist, a small fish ended up winning a battle. That's what helped drive shares of Isle of Capri Casinos (NASDAQ: ISLE), which operates casinos under the brand names of Isle and Lady Luck, roughly 35% this week. Eldorado Resorts (ERI) agreed to purchase Isle of Capri Casinos despite being the smaller of the two companies in a highly leveraged buyout.
"The combination builds the scale of our gaming operations and further diversifies the geographic reach of our operations without any overlap with our existing properties," Eldorado Resorts CEO Gary Carano said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Eldorado agreed to pay $23 per share in cash for Isle of Capri Casinos in a deal worth roughly $1.7 billion. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out long term, but regional gaming and gambling isn't the boomtown it once was, so it's likely that investors of Isle of Capri Casinos are pretty thrilled with the premium Eldorado agreed to pay.