Stocks spent most of today's session in the red but finished essentially unchanged as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.26%) closed down 11 points, or 0.07%, while the S&P 500 finished up 0.03%. On a day with no major economic releases, investors seemed to keep their eye on international affairs in Ukraine and China. The European Union prepared a framework for sanctions against Russia, and worries about China's economic slowdown resurfaced thanks to weak export figures released earlier this week and copper prices approaching a four-year low, a sign of declining global industrial activity.
Among stocks making news after hours today was Williams-Sonoma (WSM 2.93%), whose shares jumped 7% on a strong earnings report. The home-products retailer said earnings per share improved from $1.34 to $1.38, better than estimates at $1.35 a share. Revenue improved 10% on an even calendar basis, on a 10.4% increase in comparable brand sales to $1.47 billion, ahead of the consensus at $1.43 billion. CEO Laura Alber said that the company "outperformed the retail industry this holiday season, gaining market share and demonstrating the structural advantage of our multi-brand, multi-channel platform." Also pleasing investors was the company's decision to lift its dividend 6% from $0.31 to $0.33, though EPS guidance for the current year of $3.05-$3.15 was short of the consensus of $3.20. Still with core brands like Pottery Barn and West Elm growing organically by double digits, the company's position looks strong going forward.
Meanwhile, shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) were hopping out of the fryer after hours today, gaining 10% after reporting earnings. The doughnut chain actually missed estimates on both the top and bottom lines, as its EPS of $0.12 was a penny short of estimates. Revenues increased 3.3% on an even calendar basis to $112.7 million with a same-store sales uptick of 1.6%, but that missed the consensus at $118.8 million. Still, investors cheered the company's decision to raise its share-repurchase authorization to $80 million from $50 million, and it lifted its current-year EPS guidance to a range of $0.73-$0.79, in line with estimates of $0.75.
Finally, shares of Vail Resorts (MTN 2.28%) were taking a spill, down 3.4%, as a lack of snow in the Lake Tahoe region put a dent in earnings during the all-important winter ski season. Earnings per share fell from $1.65 to $1.60, missing estimates of $1.88, while revenue increased 7% to $452.7 million, below the consensus at $471.2 million. Separately, Vail announced it was doubling its quarterly dividend to $0.415, giving investors a yield of 2.4%. Considering the unpredictable nature of the weather and therefore earnings for Vail, investors may want to overlook the bottom-line miss for now and take solace in the generous dividend hike.