Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Mar 10, 2017 at 4:06PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Vail Resorts and Ulta Beauty stocks both trounced the wider market on Friday.

Stocks rose on Friday following encouraging data on economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 2.68%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC 3.06%) indexes each finished higher by less than 0.5%.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

0.21%

44.79

S&P 500

0.33%

7.73

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Financial stocks saw heavy trading, but trailed the broader market as the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF 3.69%) posted a slight decline. Meanwhile, gold prices ticked lower, but the leveraged bullish bet on the precious metal, Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NUGT 5.23%), still rose 8%.

Vail Resorts (MTN 3.94%) and Ulta Beauty (ULTA 3.69%) stocks both broke away from broader indexes after the companies announced solid quarterly earnings results.

Stock ticker feed showing a mix of winning and losing stocks.

Image source: Getty Images.

Vail Resorts gets help from Canada

Shares of Vail Resorts jumped almost 5% after the company posted surprisingly strong fiscal second-quarter earnings results. The company overcame a weak start to the ski season at its U.S. resorts as revenue jumped 21% to $725 million thanks to a big assist from its recently acquired Whistler Blackcomb properties. Those Canada-based resorts benefited from a relatively weak Canadian dollar and ideal winter ski conditions. Overall, lift revenue rose 24.5%, ski school sales were up 25.9%, and dining revenue rose 21.5%. Net income spiked 27.5%, helped along by higher ski lift prices, to $149 million.

"We are very pleased with our results for the quarter," CEO Rob Katz said in a press release. "We had strong results during the holidays and the month of January despite a slower start to the season at our U.S. resorts resulting from below average early season conditions," he continued.

Vail's season-to-date metrics revealed that total lift revenue is running 6.7% higher in its North American resorts than over the same period last year. Ancillary spending, including on food and ski school, is seeing healthy growth, too. The better-than-expected showing convinced management to raise their earnings outlook for the full fiscal year while boosting Vail's quarterly dividend by 30% to $1.053 per share.

Ulta Beauty's beat and raise

Ulta Beauty stock rose nearly 5% after the spa and beauty retailer beat sales growth estimates for the fourth consecutive quarter. Sales improved 25% overall thanks to the powerful combination of aggressive store growth and soaring traffic gains at existing locations. In fact, the company's 16.6% comparable-store sales jump was only slightly lower than the prior quarter's, which marked a record high for Ulta.

As it did then, the retailer benefited from double-digit customer traffic gains and a 63% spike in e-commerce revenue. Gross profit margin held steady at near 35% of sales for the quarter but improved by 70 basis points to 36% for the full year.

A woman applying a skin care product.

Image source: Getty Images.

"The Ulta Beauty team delivered outstanding fourth quarter results," CEO Mary Dillon said in a press release, "capping an exceptional year of sales and earnings growth." The company's 15.8% comps improvement in 2016 far surpassed the 8% to 10% gains that management initially targeted.

Looking forward, Dillon and her team see comps growth slowing down this year, particularly as the digital sales channel decelerates to a 40% increase from last year's 56%. Still, the range of expansion that they forecast, of 8% to 10%, is above the outlook that they had predicted last October, which highlights how dramatically its operating trends have been improving over the last 18 months.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Ulta Beauty, Inc. Stock Quote
Ulta Beauty, Inc.
ULTA
$410.54 (3.69%) $14.63
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,500.68 (2.68%) $823.32
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,911.74 (3.06%) $116.01
Direxion Shares ETF Trust - Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares Stock Quote
Direxion Shares ETF Trust - Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares
NUGT
$40.44 (5.23%) $2.01
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund Stock Quote
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund
XLF
$32.34 (3.69%) $1.15
Vail Resorts, Inc. Stock Quote
Vail Resorts, Inc.
MTN
$232.34 (3.94%) $8.80

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

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
336%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.