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Stock Markets Hit Record Highs, But 3 High-Profile Earnings Stocks Were Mixed After Hours

By Dan Caplinger - Mar 11, 2021 at 7:24PM

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Find out which one managed to post gains.

Thursday was another good day for the stock market, with the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC -2.21%) joining the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.41%) in setting new records. Investors were pleased at President Joe Biden's rapid signing into law of the latest stimulus bill, and they seem hopeful that the impact on the economy will be favorable.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -3.33%), meanwhile, played catch-up with an outsized gain that still wasn't enough to reach its own record levels.

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

+0.58%

+189

S&P 500

+1.04%

+41

Nasdaq Composite

+2.52%

+330

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Earnings are still critically important to the bull market in stocks, and three high-profile companies released their latest financial results after the closing bell on Thursday afternoon. Two of them saw big declines, but one managed to perk up. Below, we'll run through all three.

DocuSign gets smudged despite strong results

Shares of DocuSign (DOCU -7.82%) were down more than 4% after hours, giving back a portion of the stock's 6% gain in the regular trading session. The electronic signature specialist had solid financial results for the fourth quarter, but some still worry that growth could slow as 2021 continues.

DocuSign's numbers were impressive. Revenue climbed 57% in the fourth quarter, capping 49% growth for the full fiscal year. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter tripled from year-ago results, leading to a near-tripling for full-year bottom-line results compared to the previous year.

In addition, DocuSign sees good times ahead. First-quarter projections for sales of $432 million to $436 million and full-year revenue guidance of $1.963 billion to $1.973 billion suggest that healthy growth rates are likely to continue throughout the coming year. Yet some might have been concerned that a slowing of the sales growth rate to 35% would trouble growth investors. That's possible after such a big run-up for the stock in 2020, but the recent pullback in the share price might have blunted the hit Thursday afternoon.

Ulta gets a new leader

Elsewhere, shares of Ulta Beauty (ULTA -3.76%) fell more than 7% after hours, wiping out its 1% gain in the regular session. Fourth-quarter financial results were challenging, and the announcement of the transition of CEO Mary Dillon to executive chair seemed to weigh on sentiment.

Ulta saw revenue fell almost 5% in the fourth quarter on a 4.8% drop in comparable sales. That capped a much more difficult year, with revenue falling 17% for fiscal 2020 as same-store sales were down 18%. Adjusted net income for the year was down more than 60%, although the fourth quarter held up better with just a 12% decline.

Yet investors seemed more troubled by Ulta's outlook. The beauty retailer does expect a bounce in 2021, but revenue of $7.2 billion to $7.3 billion would only bring the company back up to 2019 levels. Moreover, comparable-sales growth of 15% to 17% seems muted compared to the declines Ulta suffered in 2020. Ulta hadn't seen its stock fall back in recent weeks, and that might explain the somewhat larger downward move.

Mountain with a ski trail heading up to the top

Image source: Getty Images.

Let it snow!

Finally, Vail Resorts (MTN -2.68%) was the earnings winner Thursday afternoon. The stock climbed 10% following a flat performance in the regular trading session.

Results for the ski operator were predictably poor. Net income fell 28% year over year during the fiscal second quarter. COVID-19 restrictions weighed on visitation.

However, Vail did say that results improved in January and February, with lift revenue and skier visit counts down only single-digit percentages. Moreover, Vail has plenty of liquidity, and projected a solid end to the season in the spring. That was welcome news for analysts who'd initially feared that the entire 2020-21 ski season might be lost due to the pandemic.

All three of these companies have seen big moves in the past year, and they all have good chances to keep building on their business success. With Vail at all-time highs, its stock looks the most extended from a valuation standpoint, while DocuSign and Ulta arguably offer better bargains after their post-earnings declines.

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Stocks Mentioned

Vail Resorts, Inc. Stock Quote
Vail Resorts, Inc.
MTN
$233.50 (-2.68%) $-6.43
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,431.06 (-1.41%) $-420.67
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,885.99 (-2.21%) $-87.76
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$11,150.60 (-3.33%) $-399.56
Ulta Beauty, Inc. Stock Quote
Ulta Beauty, Inc.
ULTA
$333.63 (-3.76%) $-13.02
DocuSign Stock Quote
DocuSign
DOCU
$72.15 (-7.82%) $-6.12

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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