Stock markets are mostly quiet Wednesday afternoon as investors take a breather following yesterday's record run, which was spurred by the latest words of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. With many feeling increasingly confident that the central bank's impact on the U.S. economy during the rest of the year will be at worst neutral, stocks were able to remain at or near record levels, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) up just 15 points as of 12:30 p.m. EST. Yet even as most major-market benchmarks were relatively changed, a few stocks made big moves. Among them, Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI) posted substantial gains, while Lending Club (NYSE:LC) and Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) moved sharply lower.
On the positive side, Chicago Bridge & Iron soared 12% after reporting favorable results in its fourth-quarter financial report. The energy infrastructure engineering and construction company saw its stock hit hard during the second half of 2014 as falling oil prices led to concerns about the willingness of its customers to follow through on planned projects. Yet CEO Philip Asherman projected that less than 5% of its revenue from new bookings would be affected by lower oil prices, and revenue climbed more than 12% to $3.4 billion. Profits were down from the year-ago quarter, but order backlogs of more than $30 billion strongly suggest that Chicago Bridge & Iron's customers will keep relying on the company even through a tough patch for the energy industry.
Lending Club, on the other hand, fell 15%, dropping well below its opening-day price in its initial public offering back in December. The marketplace for online borrowing reported its fourth-quarter results last night, and although revenue more than doubled from the year-ago quarter, Lending Club could only earn a single penny per share. Moreover, the company's guidance for 2015 suggests that it will continue to face challenges in turning fast-growing revenue into profit, with its guidance range for operating earnings falling as much as 25% below what most investors currently expect from Lending Club this year. Although Lending Club has plenty of potential to grow in areas ranging from credit card refinancing to loans for small businesses, educational expenses, and medical expenses, investors want to see more evidence of the company's internal efficiency before committing to its business model.
Finally, Boston Beer plunged 13% after its 2015 guidance failed to inspire investors in the maker of the Sam Adams brand. The craft beer pioneer's 2014 results were solid, with 22% revenue growth resulting in 29% gains in earnings per share. But full-year 2015 earnings projections of $7.10 to $7.50 per share fell well short of the nearly $8 per share that investors wanted to see, and tough comparisons over the next year could hold back the beer-maker as competition in the craft beer segment ramps up. Moreover, Boston Beer's growth has left it with supply chain challenges, and while the company expects to address those issues this year, it will still have to work hard to sustain profit growth at the levels its shareholders want.
Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Boston Beer. The Motley Fool owns shares of Boston Beer. 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.