The stock market was little more than a sea of red today, as poor earnings results from several large retailers sent stocks spiraling lower. If we're assigning blame, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser deserves a healthy dose of it as well. Plosser, a day before Chairwoman Janet Yellen is due to speak to NYU grads at Yankee Stadium, implied that interest rates may have to rise more quickly than expected.
Today we'll focus on three retailers and how they fared in the wake of today's mess: Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), and Zulily, Inc. (UNKNOWN:ZU.DL). The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), for its part, lost 137 points, or 0.8%, to end at 16,374.
Yesterday, Home Depot's stock finished as the worst performer in the Dow. Today it was the best. Adding 1.9% to buck the day's overwhelmingly negative trend, Wall Street snapped up shares, even after the home improvement giant missed both revenue and earnings estimates in the first quarter. The reason behind this is summed up nicely in the phrase "Investors buy the future, not the past" -- Home Depot maintained its full-year sales estimates and expects up to make up the first-quarter revenue shortfall in the coming quarters.
Shares of electronics retailer Best Buy weren't so lucky on Tuesday, losing 5.6% as it succumbed to marketwide pressure felt by retail names. A flurry of disappointing results from fellow retailers made Best Buy guilty by association -- at least in the eyes of Mr. Market, who was rather cranky today. Staples saw earnings fall by 43%, Dick's Sporting Goods trimmed its outlook, and TJX reported soft sales. Although I humbly submit that Best Buy shares didn't deserve to take a pounding merely because other companies that also sell things didn't sell enough of those things, I'm also not enthusiastic about its long-term prospects. If Best Buy is truly a turnaround play, it should start to become evident in Thursday's earnings report, so stay tuned.
Last but not least, shares of online flash-retailer Zulily somehow managed to tack on 2.7% today. This stock is tough to value – it's been public for less than seven months -- and it's been wildly volatile as Wall Street tries to pin an accurate price on this thing. Zulily IPO'd at $22 a share, zoomed to $72 a share, and currently trades for less than half that, so it's not for the faint of heart. Although sales are growing at an absolutely blistering pace, surging 87% in the first quarter, the question is whether Zulily can actually handle its own success. The company had some problems filling orders in a timely fashion last quarter, an issue that threatens to affect the company's growth if it continues.
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