Investors are growing tired of the ongoing volatility in the stock market, but unfortunately, Thursday's activity on Wall Street didn't suggest the ups and downs would end anytime soon. As of 1 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.24%) was down 328 points to 35,302. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.10%) fell 80 points to 4,510, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.29%) dropped 377 points to 14,041.
High-profile social media and tech stocks were among the biggest decliners in the market on Thursday afternoon, but there were still a few bright spots. In particular, Walker & Dunlop (WD -1.21%) and Becton Dickinson (BDX -0.66%) gave their shareholders good news, even in today's tough market. Let's take a closer look to see what the commercial-mortgage financing specialist and the medical-device maker had to say.
Walker & Dunlop runs higher
Shares of Walker & Dunlop rose more than 6% on Thursday afternoon. The company saw strong growth and rewarded shareholders after revealing its fourth-quarter financial results.
Walker & Dunlop's commercial real estate financing business enjoyed record levels of activity. Transaction volume of $27.1 billion in the fourth quarter was up 91% year over year and hit an all-time high. That pushed revenue up 16% to $407.2 million, also a record. This capped an unprecedented year in 2021, with transaction volume rising 66%, sales climbing 16%, and net income setting a record of $265.8 million, or $8.15 per share.
The company attributed its success to its increasingly diversified business model. Walker & Dunlop has moved beyond merely financing real estate deals to offer value-added services like debt brokerage and property-sales operations. The shift has dramatically increased its ability to deal with cyclical fluctuations in commercial real estate, while embracing technological innovation.
Walker & Dunlop has made some major acquisitions recently, the latest of which was alternative-investment manager Alliant Capital, which focuses on affordable housing through ventures dealing with low-income housing and community preservation. Those strategic moves have put the company in a position to have a strong 2022. Moreover, with a 20% dividend boost to $0.60 per share quarterly and plans to repurchase up to $75 million in stock, Walker & Dunlop is treating shareholders well.
Becton holds up in tough times
Meanwhile, shares of Becton Dickinson rose by 5%. The medical-technology company's fiscal first-quarter financial report wasn't entirely pretty, but it was good enough to reassure investors that the business seems to be on the right track.
Becton Dickinson's quarterly numbers were mixed. Revenue was down 6% year over year to just under $5 billion, and adjusted earnings of $3.64 per share were lower by 20% from year-ago levels. However, after taking into consideration some of the extraordinary revenues that the company saw in the year-earlier period from COVID-19 diagnostic testing, Becton's base revenue figure was higher by 8%.
Gains across Becton's business segments were generally solid. The medical segment saw a 6% rise in sales, while its interventional business rose 3.7% year over year. Only the life sciences segment took a hit, but again, it was a $681 million drop in COVID-only testing sales that drove the 25% revenue decline in that business. Backing that number out, core segment revenue rose almost 17%.
Based on those numbers, Becton Dickinson boosted its revenue projections for fiscal 2022 by $250 million, announcing a new range of $19.55 billion to $19.75 billion. Similarly, a $0.50 per-share boost to profit expectations now has Becton calling for adjusted earnings of $12.80 to $13 per share. That was enough to make shareholders optimistic about the future for the med-tech company.