It was a roller-coaster ride for the stock market Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) plummeting almost 800 points in the morning before largely recovering. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) also had a small loss, but the Nasdaq Composite actually gained 0.42%.
Today's stock market
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Real estate stocks made a comeback from recent weakness, with the Vanguard REIT ETF (NYSEMKT:VNQ) adding 2.5%. Falling crude oil prices hurt the energy sector; the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEMKT:XES) dropped 4.8%.
Kroger reports growth of digital sales, store brands
Grocery giant Kroger announced mixed third-quarter results while maintaining full-year guidance, and shares initially dropped 3% on the news, but recovered to close with a gain of 3.2%. Sales decreased 0.3% to $27.67 billion, just missing the analyst consensus estimate of $27.71 billion. Adjusted earnings per share grew 9.1% to $0.48, which the company said was slightly ahead of internal expectations and beat the analyst forecast of $0.43.
Same-store sales, excluding fuel, grew 1.6%, compared with company guidance of 2% to 2.5% for the full year. Kroger saw some payoff from its growth strategies, with digital sales growth of 60% beating last quarter's 50% gain, and sales of store brands as a percentage of the total improving to 28.7% on a unit basis and 26.7% on a dollar basis.
Kroger is attempting to transform its business through new services and revenue streams, and Q3 results seem to indicate some progress, although investors are still waiting to see how the strategy plays out.
Canopy Growth buys vaporizer company
Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth announced it is acquiring German company Storz & Bickel GmbH, a designer and manufacturer of medically approved vaporizers, in a deal worth $165 million. Canopy claims that Storz & Bickel is "the world's most technologically advanced vaporizer company," and exports its products into 50 markets in the world. Shares dropped 3.5%, as marijuana stocks in general fell today.
Canopy says that the acquisition will position the company for the next wave of legalized cannabis products in Canada, where only dried flower and edible oils are permissible for recreational use so far. The acquisition also strengthens the company's German operations, which imports medical marijuana from Canada and distributes to 2,000 pharmacies in Europe.
Canopy Growth is using some of the substantial cash windfall it received from its $4 billion deal with Constellation Brands to expand globally and buy up companies in related businesses, such as U.S.-based hemp company Ebbu. Canopy shares are up 119% in 2018, but down 49% from their peak in September.