The first quarter came to a quiet close on Thursday as major stock market indexes finished the day narrowly mixed. Investors seemed content to coast into the end of what has been a tumultuous quarter for stocks, and after having been down more than 11% since the beginning of the year at its low point, the S&P 500 finished the quarter with a slight gain of just less than 1%. Many market participants are now looking at the coming earnings season to provide some perspective on whether corporate fundamentals have justified the market's rebound. Still, some stocks enjoyed large gains, including Fitbit (FIT), Sandander Consumer USA Holdings (SC), and Dynagas LNG Partners (NYSE: DLNG).
Fitbit climbed 13% after the maker of wearable fitness devices said it has gotten a good reception from customers for its latest devices. In a release this morning, Fitbit told investors it has shipped more than 1 million of its Fitbit Blaze fitness trackers, giving it the No. 1 ranking among smartwatch and heart-monitor categories on popular e-commerce platforms. The company has also shipped more than 1 million of its Fitbit Alta devices, which first become available on March 9. Fitbit touted strong reviews among customers, and as Chief Business Officer Woody Scal described, "The positive response we've received to Blaze and Alta demonstrates our continued ability to innovate and drive strong demand for Fitbit products, which is what has made and kept us the leader in the global wearables category."
With the Blaze priced at just under $200 and the Alta below $130, Fitbit is working to make its devices available at a range of price points to attract more customer purchases.
Santander Consumer USA soared 18% as investors responded favorably to the consumer-financing specialist's filing of its annual report. The company had previously disclosed early in March that it had revised its methodology for estimating credit-loss allowances, and fears about what implications that might have for its financial results had sent the stock down substantially. However, in the press release associated with the annual report, Santander said it had determined it would not have to refile previously filed financial statements. CEO Jason Kulas said, "we remain confident in SC's ability to execute on its business plan," and investors apparently agreed that putting the episode behind it would allow Santander to continue seeking ways to grow and improve its returns to shareholders.
Finally, Dynagas LNG Partners rose 19%. The liquefied natural gas shipping specialist announced new long-term time charter agreements for two of its LNG carriers. One involves a deal with Gazprom Global LNG that will cover its Ob River vessel through 2028. The other covers its Lena River LNG carrier, which a consortium of oil and gas industry players will contract at least through 2033. The deal doubles Dynagas' minimum contracted revenue backlog to $1.2 billion and extends its average minimum contract duration from less than four years to almost eight years. CEO Tony Lauritzen believes the deals should address concerns about how sustainable Dynagas' distributions have been, and investors looking at the current double-digit percentage yield of the partnership units appear to agree.