The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates on Wednesday, and stocks fell after the news conference despite being up earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) went into the red in the last hour of the session.
Today's stock market
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The new communication services sector had the best performance today, with the Communication Services Select SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT:XLC) rising 0.4%. Bank stocks fell on the flattening yield curve; the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEMKT:KBE) dropped 1.8%.
As for individual stocks, SVMK, Inc. (NASDAQ:SVMK), the parent company of SurveyMonkey, soared on its first day of public trading, and Nike (NYSE:NKE) fell despite reporting results that beat expectations.
Investors cast their votes for SurveyMonkey
SVMK, commonly known as SurveyMonkey, the software-as-a-service company that allows users to easily set up online surveys, went public today. Investors snapped up the shares, with the stock opening at $18.75 and closing at $17.24, 44% above the offering price of $12. The company offered 13.5 million shares, plus 2 million reserved for the underwriters and 3.3 million shares for a private placement with the venture capital arm of salesforce.com. Assuming the underwriters take their full allotment, SurveyMonkey will have 123.4 million shares outstanding and a market capitalization of $2.1 billion based on today's closing price.
SurveyMonkey was founded in 1999 and has grown to dominate its niche of cloud-based surveys. The company offers a free product and monetizes its user base through upgrades to paid subscriptions for products with more features, up to enterprise-level offerings. It has 60 million registered users and 16 million active users globally. Revenue comes from 616,000 paying users, 3% more than last year at this time.
Core revenue, which excludes sales of a discontinued product, grew 18.7% to $102 million in the first half of 2018, and average revenue per user increased 14% to $400. The company is not profitable, reporting a loss of $0.27 per share in the first six months of the year compared with a loss of $0.19 in the first half of 2017.
Losses and a high valuation relative to sales didn't deter investors today, though.
Nike is gaining strength in North America
Nike delivered fiscal first-quarter results that beat expectations, as the company is seeing renewed growth in North American sales. Investors took the results in stride, and shares slipped 1.3%. Revenue grew 9.7% to $9.95 billion, slightly ahead of what observers were expecting. Earnings per share increased 17.5% to $0.67, beating the analyst consensus of $0.63.
As has been true in recent quarters, sales into Asia are energizing Nike's results. Revenue from Greater China was up 20% on a currency-neutral basis and sales in the Asia Pacific and Latin America region grew 14%. Europe, Middle East, and Africa sales increased 9% excluding currency. Sales into Nike's largest region, North America, were up 6%, compared to 3% growth in the previous quarter and after struggling last year to get any growth at all. Gross margin increased 50 basis points from the period a year earlier. Nike officials said on the conference call that the Nike Digital channel grew sales by 36%.
Nike said that its recent controversial Just Do It ad campaign has been successful, stating that it has driven record engagement with the brand. The company declined to raise guidance for the year, though, and that may have disappointed some investors today.