Investors got hit by bad news on several fronts Wednesday, as a mass shooting in southern California, weakness in the energy markets, and extensive comments from the chair of the Federal Reserve all contributed to a jittery day for the stock market. The Dow and S&P 500 both posted losses of around 1% on the day, but a few stocks managed to defy the downbeat mood and move higher. Among them were Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), G-III Apparel Group (NASDAQ:GIII), and Avon Products (NYSE:AVP).
Groupon climbed 7% as investors responded to news that the daily deal specialist and e-commerce company managed to show considerable improvement over the Thanksgiving weekend. An internal blog post from CEO Rich Williams said that Groupon saw North American billings jump 41% between Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and customers bought 52% more Groupons over the four-day holiday weekend. The company pointed to success not only among purchases of goods but also for local merchants like spas, salons, and restaurants. Groupon sees itself as a facilitator to help small businesses compete effectively against e-commerce giants, and the company hopes that local merchants will use its platform to spur greater interest to their mutual benefit.
G-III Apparel climbed nearly 10% after the company released its third-quarter results Wednesday morning. The apparel-seller reported revenue gains of 12% from the year-ago quarter, with an 8% rise in net income helping it surpass investors' expectations. CEO Morris Goldfarb summed up the quarter quite succinctly, saying that "our organic sales and profit increase clearly differentiate us as a leader in our industry." G-III also said that it had boosted its stock buyback program by another 1.25 million shares, leaving a total of 5 million shares authorized for repurchase. That works out to more than 10% of the company's outstanding shares, and investors hope that upward pressure from purchases will be enough to offset any anticipated headwinds from the weaker consumer-spending trends G-III expects in the fourth quarter.
Finally, Avon Products rose 7% as the cosmetics giant continued to see volatile moves based on speculation. Early in the day, Avon jumped as much as 17% on rumors that Oprah Winfrey might be interested in taking a position in the company. Yet even when news sources dispelled the validity of those rumors, the stock still held onto a sizable portion of its gains. A rise in the Brazilian stock market Wednesday might also have played some role in sending Avon higher, as an analyst report late last month noted that the company's exposure to the Latin American economy is extensive. Better conditions in Brazil could help support a recovery for Avon shares, which have taken recent hits from plunging revenue and reports of failed attempts to find a buyer for the company.