I promise, no mention of the fiscal cliff today! Cross my heart and hope to go into a tryptophan-induced coma!
With Thanksgiving feasts soon being prepared in countless kitchens across America, and trading volume extremely light, all attention was turned to the temporary cease-fire announced between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hope, even in the slightest, that this peace will be lasting sent the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) higher by 3.22 points (0.23%) to 1,391.03.
Medical-device companies are making waves in the S&P 500 with St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) leading the charge lower by 12%, and its peer Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) heading higher by 5%. Earlier today, the Food and Drug Administration released a report that claims St. Jude's lead that connects a defibrillator to the heart, known as Durata, was inadequately verified through testing. Having suffered through a recall on a previous version of this lead, known as Riata, St. Jude shareholders are experiencing a case of deja vu. Boston Scientific, on the other hand, is enjoying every minute, as it could give the lead manufacturer a chance to recapture market share.
Cloud-based software provider salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) was the index's biggest winner, rising nearly 9%, after squeaking past Wall Street's third-quarter earnings projections. For the quarter, Salesforce earned an adjusted $0.33, $0.01 higher than the consensus estimate, as revenue rose 35% to $788.4 million. Keep in mind, though, that expenses are beginning to rise just as rapidly as, if not faster than, revenue growth. Valued at a frothy 80 times forward earnings and with its growth rate likely to slow, I see no reason investors should be paying such a premium for this cloud-based software company.
On the downside, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) shares continued their slide, down another 3%, just a day after reporting an adjusted profit that widely missed analysts' expectations as same-store sales declined 4.3%. To make matters worse, ratings agency Fitch downgraded Best Buy's debt rating to BB- from BB+ and placed an outlook of "negative" on the big-box retailer as it sees the company's attempt to retain its current market share as utopian at best. CEO Hubert Joly has the next three months to prove shareholders wrong -- otherwise, it could be lights out for another big box retailer.
Step out of the box
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