Concerns about slowing global economic growth continued to weigh on stocks Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rebounded a bit from session lows, but still had significant losses.
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Financial stocks, particularly bank shares, led the market down; the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEMKT:KBE) fell 1.9%. The communication services sector managed a small gain, with the Communication Services Select SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT:XLC) closing up 0.5%.
Macy's sees continued sales gains
Macy's reported strong sales and profit growth in the third quarter and raised guidance for the year, but shares slumped 7.2%. Net sales increased 2.3% to $5.4 billion, about what analysts were expecting, on comparable-store sales gains of 3.3%, including licensed departments. Adjusted earnings per share grew 29% to $0.27, soundly beating expectations of $0.14 per share.
The quarter marked the fourth straight with comparable sales gains, a turnaround from declines last year and earlier. Digital sales increased in double digits, and company officials on the conference call said that brick-and-mortar sales "again demonstrated improved and very encouraging sales trends." Gross margin remained flat, with higher merchandise margin offsetting higher delivery costs.
Looking ahead, Macy's raised the low end of its sales guidance and increased its full-year EPS outlook by $0.15 to a range of $4.10 to $4.30. Macy's is optimistic about consumers in the holiday season, but the company is facing a tough comparison to last year, which might account for why the stock gave up gains from the last two weeks despite a good report.
Tencent grows in spite of gaming headwinds
Chinese online giant Tencent reported strong Q3 growth as its booming payment, cloud, and advertising businesses overcame weakness in its gaming segment, and shares rose 4.3%. Revenue grew 23.6% to 80.6 billion yuan ($11.7 billion) and net profit increased 29.6% to 23.3 billion yuan ($3.39 billion). Non-GAAP profit, excluding one-time events, grew 15.5% to 19.71 billion yuan ($2.865 billion), resulting in EPS of 2.061 yuan, or $0.30.
Revenue from Tencent's online advertising business grew 47% to 16.2 billion yuan and revenue from "other businesses," which include payment services and cloud services, was up 69% to 20.3 billion yuan. Revenue from online games decreased 4%, however, to 25.8 billion yuan as the company is feeling the effect of a government freeze on new game approvals.
Shares of Tencent have been declining all year along with those of other Chinese companies, but strong growth lifted the stock today.