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What Happened in the Stock Market Today

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

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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


Percentage Change

Point Change




S&P 500



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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Ulta Beauty, Inc. Stock Quote
Ulta Beauty, Inc.
$410.54 (3.69%) $14.63
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$31,500.68 (2.68%) $823.32
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$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
$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
$32.34 (3.69%) $1.15
Vail Resorts, Inc. Stock Quote
Vail Resorts, Inc.
$232.34 (3.94%) $8.80

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

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