Major market benchmarks climbed on Friday after an encouraging jobs report -- which showed the U.S. added 213,000 new jobs last month, well above the 200,000 most analysts were expecting -- overshadowed broader uncertainty surrounding economic growth and new tariffs imposed by the United States on China.
Gannett gets a downgrade
Shares of USA Today publisher Gannett fell 5.2% following a downgrade to underweight from neutral by JPMorgan.
JPMorgan's Alexia Quadrani also assigned a $10-per-share price target on the stock -- well below yesterday's closing price at $10.84 -- noting that Gannett has enjoyed relative stability "despite ongoing concerns regarding print circulation and advertising trends."
In addition, while Gannett should be able to enjoy growth from its 2016 acquisition of online marketing specialist ReachLocal, JPMorgan frowns upon expected top-line declines this year as print sales fall. To be sure, consensus estimates already predict that total revenue in 2018 will fall more than 5% year over year, to just under $3 billion. Until Gannett can stem those declines, I suspect this won't be the last downgrade from Wall Street.
Barnes & Noble fires another CEO
Barnes & Noble stock dropped 11% as investors continue to consider the implications of the surprise termination of the company's CEO, Demos Parneros, without severance pay for "violations of the company's policies."
Barnes & Noble did not disclose the exact rules that Parneros violated, but did elaborate that his firing was "not due to any disagreement with the company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto."
The ouster was technically announced late Tuesday, following a shortened trading session and just ahead of the July 4 holiday. And though shares did fall slightly yesterday, it's hardly surprising to see the stock accelerating its declines as investors recall the beleaguered bookseller is now searching for its fifth CEO since 2010. For perspective, Parneros succeeded Barnes & Noble's previous CEO, Ron Boire, who was terminated in 2016 after the company deemed he wasn't a "good fit."
Samsung's underwhelming quarter
Finally, shares of Samsung Electronics lost 2.3% due to the South Korean tech giant's weaker-than-expected preliminary second-quarter results. More specifically, Samsung predicted its quarterly revenue will arrive in the range of 57 trillion Korean won to 59 trillion Korean won -- or just under $52 billion at the midpoint and down 4.9% year over year. Trending toward the bottom line, that should translate to an operating profit of 14.7 to 14.9 trillion Korean won -- or around $13.267 billion at the midpoint, up roughly 5% from the same year-ago period. Still, most investors were anticipating operating profits near the high end of that range.
Samsung will elaborate on these figures when it releases formal second-quarter results later this month. But this gives investors plenty to ponder in the meantime, including inevitable speculation that sluggish sales of its latest smartphones and memory products are to blame.