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FedEx Signals Recovery, but This Post-Merger SPAC Led the Stock Market Lower Friday

By Dan Caplinger - Mar 19, 2021 at 12:33PM

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There are a lot of crosscurrents in the market right now.

The stock market continued to be choppy on Friday as investors tried to parse all the news influencing financial markets right now. Most troubling for many was the ongoing rise in Treasury bond yields, with the 10-year Treasury approaching 1.75%. That rate's not terribly high, but it's far higher than the Fed's target short-term rate, and it reflects rising fears about future inflation. Those worries sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.47%) down 221 points to 32,641 as of 10:30 a.m. EDT. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 2.39%) fell 14 points to 3,902, while the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.00%) managed to gain a little ground, rising 16 points to 13,132.

Earnings continued to drive sentiment on Wall Street, and every quarter, FedEx's (FDX 1.48%) report is seen as a bellwether of economic activity. Meanwhile, one post-merger SPAC seeking to build an electronic health giant fell out of favor Friday morning.

Ship it

FedEx shares rose almost 5% Friday morning, having been up even more earlier in the session. The shipping company was able to deliver fiscal-third-quarter financial results that impressed shareholders.

Boxes on a doormat in front of a door.

Image source: Getty Images.

FedEx's numbers looked solid. Revenue of $21.5 billion was up from $17.5 billion in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings came in at $3.47 per share, which compared quite favorably with the $1.41 per share in adjusted earnings from the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Strong volume growth came from domestic residential packages from e-commerce as well as international priority services. FedEx also asserted its pricing power by staying firm on its rates.

Most notably, FedEx's strong performance came despite some serious challenges. Winter weather was severe during the period, weighing slightly on operational results. In particular, FedEx's hub in northern Texas took the brunt of the cold snap that caused so much difficulty throughout the state.

FedEx sees continued strength for the remainder of the fiscal year, including adjusted earnings in a range between $17.60 and $18.20 per share. With high hopes for further recovery, FedEx shareholders were in a festive mood following the report.

A little less healthy

Elsewhere, shares of Hims & Hers Health (NYSE:HIMS) moved lower by 7%. The company recently completed its merger with a special-purpose acquisition company to come public, but investors weren't entirely pleased with what it had to say in its inaugural financial report.

Given the growth in Hims & Hers' numbers, it was somewhat surprising to see the stock fall. Sales in the fourth quarter were up 67% year over year. Revenue jumped 80% for the full year in 2020, and gross margin figures jumped by 20 percentage points to 74%.

Yet some of news wasn't as good. CEO Andrew Dudum pointed to high ad costs that forced Hims & Hers to manage costs carefully. That may have weighed on sales growth during the holiday season, as the number of new orders in the fourth quarter slowed from the pace set three months earlier. Moreover, operating losses widened from previous quarters, and Hims & Hers remains far short of achieving profitability.

Hims & Hers is optimistic that it can make a transition from online fulfillment of health and wellness products to a full-blown telehealth platform with broad application across healthcare. That's an ambitious endeavor, and at least on Friday, shareholders didn't seem convinced that the company would reach its goals in the long run.

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