Major benchmarks continued to rally on Thursday after the United States and China agreed to meet in Washington early next month to hold renewed trade talks. Stateside authorities indicated the in-person meeting could "lay the groundwork for meaningful progress," easing investors' concerns over the fallout of the two countries' ongoing trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained more than 1%.
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Slack's beat-and-raise quarter wasn't quite enough
Shares of Slack initially plunged 16% after the workplace chat application specialist posted its first quarterly report as a public company -- albeit following an 8% pop on Wednesday ahead of the release. Still, the stock largely recovered by the afternoon to close down just 3.4% as investors absorbed the news.
Fiscal second-quarter revenue jumped 58% to $145 million, even despite a negative impact of $8.2 million in credits related to service disruptions during the quarter. That translated into an adjusted (non-GAAP) net loss of $0.14 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting an even wider adjusted loss of $0.18 per share on lower revenue of $141 million.
What's more, Slack raised its full-year outlook to call for revenue of $603 million to $610 million, or growth of 51% to 52% year over year, which should mean it incurs a full-year adjusted net loss of $0.42 to $0.40 per share. In this case, most analysts were modeling a loss near the narrower end of that range, but on lower revenue of $601 million.
Considering Slack is currently forsaking profitability in favor of investing to drive top-line growth and take market share in these early stages, that bottom-line earnings guidance shortfall is perfectly understandable. Investors apparently came around to this point of view, as the stock largely recovered by the end of the session.
Signet Jewelers sparkles
Signet Jewelers' stock skyrocketed 26.9% after the parent company of jewelry retailers including Kay, Jared, and Zales released a stronger-than-expected fiscal second-quarter report. But those results didn't look impressive at first glance; revenue fell 4.1% year over year to $1.364 billion, translating into a 1.9% decline in adjusted net income per share to $0.51. However, most analysts were modeling significantly lower earnings of $0.24 per share on revenue closer to $1.34 billion.
CEO Virginia Drosos credited the company's relative outperformance to its "transformation initiatives," cost controls, and disciplined inventory management.
"As we enter the competitive holiday season, we believe we are positioned to execute our product strategy by launching additional flagship brands, delivering relevant on-trend new merchandise and offering a highly competitive assortment for value-oriented shoppers," Drosos added.