Stocks opened higher Friday, fell during the morning, but rose in the afternoon to close up for the session. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is within 4.3% of its all-time highest close and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is within 3%.
Today's stock market
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Gap spins off Old Navy
Gap announced it is spinning off Old Navy, creating two publicly traded companies, and investors applauded the news, sending shares up 16.2%. The company's other business lines -- Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, and Hill City -- will be combined into a new company that has yet to be named.
When the split happens in 2020, Gap shareholders will receive shares in the new company and Old Navy in equal proportions in what is expected to be a tax-free transaction. Old Navy has been outperforming the other brands for years, and sales have grown to $7.9 billion in fiscal 2018, accounting for 47% of Gap's revenue. The split will allow the two companies to pursue different strategies, and investors anticipate that value in the Old Navy business could be unlocked.
Gap also announced fourth-quarter results, saying net sales fell 3.2% to $4.62 billion and earnings per share grew 38% to $0.72 -- a miss on the top line but a beat on the bottom line. Comparable sales were flat at Old Navy, fell 5% at the Gap brand, and slipped 1% at Banana Republic.
Nutanix sees a lull in growth ahead
Hybrid cloud infrastructure company Nutanix announced fiscal second-quarter results that beat expectations, but issued shockingly low guidance for next quarter, and investors lopped 32.7% off the stock price. Revenue grew 17% to $335.4 million and non-GAAP loss per share came in at $0.23. Both figures beat the analyst consensus.
But Nutanix said that it has been underinvesting in customer lead generation, and a smaller-than-expected sales pipeline will result in third-quarter revenue between $290 million and $300 million, compared with Wall Street expectations of $348 million. The company said that it has been too focused on generating sales to existing customers rather than on acquiring new ones.
The mistake Nutanix made in misallocating resources might have been chalked up to growing pains for a rapidly expanding business. But the market was already concerned about competition from the likes of IBM and VMware, so investors are now worried the drop in growth of new customers may be a warning that the problem is not entirely an internal one.