The whipsaw action continues for the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) with its third-straight move of greater than 1%. Today, renewed commodity weakness, as well as the weight of the world again falling on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) shoulders, helped push the market decisively lower.
Commodities continue to be a talking (and selling) point for investors, with oil falling another $2 and gold down modestly yet again. This could be on the heels of a Tuesday update from the International Monetary Fund, which lowered its global growth forecast to 3.3% this year, down from 3.5%. Slower growth could mean less oil and metal demand, which is weighing heavily on commodities as a whole.
The big drag today, however, was tech giant Apple, which dipped below $400 per share at one point because of a weak preliminary revenue figure from one of its suppliers, Cirrus Logic. Cirrus' preliminary revenue of $206.9 million in the fourth quarter came in modestly shy of the $210.2 million Wall Street had been looking for. But, more importantly, Cirrus gets about 70% of its revenue from Apple, so it could signify upcoming weakness in iPhone and iPad sales for Apple's upcoming second-quarter report.
Lumped together, this news made for another miserable day, with the S&P 500 falling 22.56 points (-1.43%) to close at 1,552.01. Weakness aside, three companies managed to outperform to the upside.
Leading the charge higher was discount retailer Dollar General (NYSE:DG), which advanced 2.8% on a very weak day following a reiteration of "buy" from TheStreet.com yesterday. Dollar General is the type of company that will benefit from higher taxes and delayed tax refunds because it offers shoppers a clearly defined discount and no-hassle price points. There's always a concern that food inflation could creep back into the picture and stifle margin growth, but for now everything appears to be working in its favor.
Coming in a close second was Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), which rallied 2.4% after reporting its first-quarter results. For the quarter, net sales increased just shy of 2% to $5.38 billion as adjusted earnings rose 5% to $0.42 from $0.40 in the year-ago period. Revenue was about $30 million short of estimates, but EPS came in $0.01 above target, providing the impetus to send Abbott's shares higher. Perhaps the most intriguing factor from an optimists' perspective was that more than 40% of total sales came from fast-growing emerging markets during the quarter, giving the company ample opportunity to continue growing.
Finally, toy and game maker Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) added on 1.9% following better-than-expected first-quarter earnings results. For the quarter, revenue rose 7% to $995.6 million and EPS jumped by 450% to $0.11 -- a clean $0.02 ahead of the Street's expectations. The company's iconic Barbie and Fisher-Price brands' sales slumped once again, but its American Girl brand more than made up the difference with a 32% increase in sales to $100.5 million. With a current yield of 3.3%, there are plenty of reasons to take Mattel's growth quite seriously.
Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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