Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Stocks suffered a midday reversal of fortune Wednesday, as early gains gave way to losses after comments from Fed officials and the latest minutes of the Fed's Open Market Committee quashed hopes for a slower withdrawal of quantitative easing. Yet even with major-market benchmarks falling 0.5% to 1% today, Signet Jewelers (SIG -1.92%), Garmin (GRMN -0.92%), and Zebra Technologies (ZBRA -1.29%) defied the market's downtrend and rose substantially.
Signet Jewelers jumped 18% after announcing that it would buy jewelry rival Zale (NYSE: ZLC) in a $690 million transaction. Signet, which is the company behind the Kay Jewelers brand, said that it would buy Zale for $21 per share, or about 40% above its closing price Tuesday. Both chains will continue to operate under their respective names. With the jewelry industry having enjoyed strong sales recently, a Signet-Zale combination should be in even better position to take advantage, especially with gold and silver prices at depressed levels.
Garmin gained almost 10% as the GPS specialist announced earnings for the fourth quarter. Even as many analysts have been concerned about the company's future potential in light of readily available GPS apps on popular smartphones, Garmin has made the most of specialty areas like fitness and aviation. Growth in non-automotive areas was almost enough to outweigh falling auto and mobile revenue, and earnings growth of 12% also came in stronger than investors had expected. Finally, Garmin raised its dividend by almost 7%, adding to the stock's already attractive 4% yield.
Zebra Technologies rose 14% on record revenue and net income for the quarter. The company's combination of RFID and real-time location services are intended to help customers keep track of their goods, and the rising trend toward the Internet of Things is definitely playing a substantial role in Zebra's future strategy. With positive guidance for the current quarter as well, Zebra appears to be making the right moves to take full advantage of technological innovation and applying it to the needs of its customers.