Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is set to fall by an insignificant two points at the opening bell, according to index futures. Markets look headed for a rest after a rally yesterday sparked by news that the Federal Reserve expects to keep interest rates low for years to come. Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on several stocks that could see heavy trading in the session, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD).
Facebook is on the move after announcing a new stock offering this morning that will increase its share count by 70 million, or about 4%. The company said it has no specific plans to use the extra cash except for "general corporate purposes." As part of the offering, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will make a substantial sale of his own shares in order to pay taxes on the purchase of a different class of Facebook stock. Still, Zuckerberg's voting power in the company will remain roughly the same after the deal, changing from 84.4% to 83.3%. Facebook's stock is down 4% in premarket trading.
Darden Restaurants this morning announced a disappointing third quarter in which customer traffic dove at its flagship Red Lobster chain. Overall, company sales were up 4.6% to $2.05 billion, while profit fell to $0.15 per share from last year's $0.26 figure. But the worst performer in Darden's restaurant portfolio was the Red Lobster brand, which saw a 4.5% dip in same-restaurant sales as traffic plunged in each month of the quarter. Darden also announced plans to "separate" Red Lobster from its business, but hasn't decided yet if that divorce would involve a spinoff or an outright sale. Darden's stock is down 3% in premarket trading.
Finally, Rite Aid reported earnings for its fiscal third quarter this morning. Revenue rose to $6.4 billion from the $6.2 billion it managed in the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased a respectable 2.3% in the quarter, helped along by a boost in pharmacy sales. Profit, after adjusting for corporate stock redemptions, was $0.07 a share, in line with last year's results. Rite Aid also updated its guidance for 2014, saying that it expects sales to be about $25.4 billion. The stock is down 7% in premarket trading.
Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Darden Restaurants and Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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