Today's stock market
|Index||Percentage Change||Point Change|
Oil and gas stocks had a strong day, with the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEMKT:XOP) rising 2.4%. Financial stocks made gains; the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSEMKT:KRE) climbed 0.9%.
As for individual stocks, Yelp, Inc. (NYSE:YELP) soared after the company announced earnings and a new partnership, while Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) fell as investors worried about the future of cable TV in the U.S.
Investors give Yelp a five-star review
Business review specialist Yelp reported strong growth in its most recent quarter and announced a partnership with Grubhub (NYSE:GRUB) to cooperate on food delivery service, sending the stock soaring 27.6%. Revenue grew 20% to $208.9 million, exceeding guidance of $202 million to $206 million and analysts' estimate of $205 million. Investors were expecting a loss for the quarter, but the company earned GAAP income of $0.09 per share. Cumulative reviews grew 24% and advertising revenue grew 19%.
Grubhub will be buying Yelp's Eat24 food delivery service for $287.5 million in cash, and the two companies will join forces to integrate Grubhub's delivery ordering system into Yelp's web platform. Commenting on the deal, Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said:
Bringing Grubhub onto the Yelp Platform through this long-term partnership will be a win for everyone. Consumers get a high-quality end-to-end experience with a wider selection of restaurants and better delivery options. Restaurant partners receive increased online exposure and the opportunity for increased order volume, as well as expanded delivery support. Yelp and Grubhub benefit from greater scale and sharper operating focus. We expect Grubhub's acquisition of Eat24 to create significant value for our consumers, restaurant partners and stockholders.
After two quarters in a row of strong results but conservative guidance that sent the stock plummeting, Yelp investors are undoubtedly relieved to see the company get some credit for its progress this time around.
Viacom delivers, but ad revenue stirs concerns
Media giant Viacom announced fiscal third-quarter earnings that were better than expected, but concerns about the domestic cable TV business prevailed in investors' minds and shares finished the day 13.8% lower. The owner of Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and Paramount reported revenue up 8% to $3.36 billion and adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.17, up 11%. Analysts were expecting adjusted EPS of $1.05 on sales of $3.29 billion.
Domestic advertising revenue declined 2% despite increased prices, due to lower numbers of ad impressions. Part of that drop resulted from a decision to decrease ad loads in some networks in order to improve the customer experience. Subscriber numbers fell, but domestic affiliate revenue still managed a 4% increase thanks to success in the company's internet-based delivery efforts.
CEO Robert Bakish acknowledged the challenges of declining cable viewership in the conference call and vowed to continue his revitalization plan, saying:
The ship has sailed on everyone having $100 bundle. Many consumers want lower price options, including options below $40. And so we continue to focus on leveraging our unique attributes to be part -- a core part of that offering, and I will say again that low-price entertainment packs will be a reality.
There was plenty of good news in the call as well. Revenue from the filmed entertainment segment surged 36%, and international advertising grew 14%. But investors are so focused on the shifts in the domestic cable business -- with competitors increasing scale through merger deals -- that little else in Viacom's earnings report seemed to matter.