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Why Signet Jewelers Ltd. Stock Soared Today

By Steve Symington - Feb 29, 2016 at 1:08PM

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The jewelry juggernaut ended its latest fiscal year on a high note.

Image source: Signet Jewelers Ltd.

What: Shares of Signet Jewelers Ltd. (SIG 0.17%) jumped as much as 13.5% early Monday after the company announced solid preliminary fiscal fourth-quarter 2016 results.

So what: Quarterly same-store sales combined 4.9%, near the high end of Signet's guidance for 4.6% to 5% growth. That translated to an 18.6% increase in adjusted earnings per share to $3.63, above the high end of Signet's guidance range for adjusted EPS of $3.54 to $3.60. Analysts, on average, were anticipating quarterly adjusted EPS of $3.58 per share.

"Our business was strong in the fourth quarter as evidenced by our accelerating same store sales performance," explained Signet Jewelers CEO Mark Light. "At the same time our credit metrics improved from the third quarter in line with expectations and we remain confident in the strength of our credit portfolio."

In addition, having operated Zales for one full year following its acquisition in a $1.46 billion deal last February, Signet Jewelers is increasing expectations for total synergies to a range of $225 million to $250 million -- up from $150 million to $175 million previously -- by the end of fiscal 2018.

Now what: What's more, noting that its new $750 million share repurchase program begins this week, Light also said the company is "pleased" with the current-quarter performance so far, and promised further updates during its official earnings conference call on March 24, 2016. Signet's board also approved an 18% increase in the quarterly cash dividend, to $0.26 per share starting with its fiscal 2017 first quarter.

All things considered, Signet investors will be hard-pressed to find anything not to like about these preliminary results and encouraging forward-looking comments, and it's no surprise to see shares trading significantly higher today.

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