Yesterday, declining stocks outnumbered advancing stocks by a 4-to-1 ratio. Today, we saw the exact opposite, as four in five stocks made their way into the weekend colored with a lovely hue of green. Strong corporate earnings, as well as some clarification as to who was behind yesterday's downed Malaysia Airlines flight, brought buyers back to the stock market today. Alas, NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA -4.35%), Schlumberger Limited (SLB -0.10%), and Rowan Companies (RDC) didn't get the memo, as all three stocks finished in the depths of the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC -0.60%) today. The S&P, for its part, tacked on 20 points, or 1%, finishing at 1,978 today.
Shares of NVIDIA Corporation, which is known for its graphics chips, lost 4.5% today, due entirely to the lousy quarterly earnings that rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices posted on Friday. It's not fair that NVIDIA -- which is about three times the size of AMD and is historically far-less reliant on the dying PC industry for sales -- should get punished for AMD's poor earnings and weak sales projections. But Wall Street loves to extrapolate, selling and buying industries indiscriminately on one or two data points at a time. For potential NVIDIA investors, that means the stock is on sale -- so maybe Wall Street's blind selling isn't so bad after all!
One of the companies probably watching the Ukraine-Russia conflict more closely than the rest of the market is Schlumberger Limited, which drills alongside Russia's largest oil producer, Rosneft, in Sakhalin, an oil-rich Russian island. Rosneft was hit with sanctions earlier this week by the U.S. as the Obama administration tries desperately to discourage further Russian conflict in Ukraine through economic disincentives. Putting Russia aside, Schlumberger also reported second-quarter results today, topping both earnings and revenue expectations. Still, the stock shed 2% amid the Russia worries, and CEO Paal Kibsgaard's uninspiring assessment of global economics going forward.
While the $3.9 billion Rowan Companies PLC is a mere fraction of Schlumberger's sprawling $146-billion international empire, the smaller contract driller also faced pressure from the stock market, stumbling 1.6% today. Investors waited anxiously for Rowan's "Monthly Fleet Status Report," which the company unleashed at about 1 p.m. E.S.T. Immediately thereafter, shares started diving. It may have been the 5% operational downtime the company expects for its fleet for the remainder of the year, or a newly inked contract to drill on the Gulf of Mexico that disappointed investors. While a 75-to-80-day deal at $108,000 per day sure ain't peanuts, investors hoping for higher fees or a longer contract were out of luck Friday.