The U.S. economy has helped power the stock market back from its early 2016 losses, and Friday gave the latest example of how tenacious the employment market has been, even amid doubts on the global level. The latest jobs report included growth of 215,000 in nonfarm payrolls for March, and a rise in the labor participation rate cushioned the impact of a slight rise in the unemployment rate, to 5%.
Investors mostly reacted favorably to the news, with the Dow and S&P 500 pressing higher by about 0.6% each. However, some stocks weren't able to share in the broader rally, and among the weaker performers on the day were BlackBerry (NYSE:BB), Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR), and Transocean (NYSE:RIG).
BlackBerry fell 8% after reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter results Friday morning. The mobile pioneer said that adjusted revenue from software and services more than doubled from the year-ago quarter, but the company still posted an adjusted loss of $0.03 for the quarter. More importantly, BlackBerry hasn't been able to gain much traction on the hardware front, and efforts to get back on top with its Priv smartphone haven't led to strong-enough sales to reassure investors that a long-term turnaround is realistic.
At some point, CEO John Chen might have to look more closely at divesting BlackBerry's hardware business if he truly wants to focus on opportunities in services and software. Until it can restore growth at the faster pace that investors want to see, BlackBerry could see further pressure on its share price for the foreseeable future.
Marriott dropped 6% in the wake of the decision by rival bidder Anbang Insurance not to pursue its takeover bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts any further. The decision from Anbang leaves Marriott as the likely victor in the quest to acquire Starwood, but investors clearly have mixed thoughts about the deal after the brief bidding war.
Many worry that Marriott is paying too much to buy Starwood, and the likely result will be a flurry of acquisition activity among other hotel rivals that could merely make competitive pressures across the industry that much tougher to overcome. Now, Marriott has to convince shareholders of both companies to approve the deal, and some predict possible hurdles to that process that make the merger far from a done deal at this point.
Finally, Transocean was down 6%. The energy sector was generally weak on Friday, and oil prices dropped more than 4% to fall below the $37 per-barrel level in the U.S. markets. Transocean has seen its stock plunge about 80% in the past two years, as falling oil prices and the resulting deferral of projects among its exploration and production company customers have put a lot of pressure on the company.
Even the recent bounce in oil hasn't helped out Transocean that much, because many of the projects that it could benefit most from really need much higher oil prices to justify them from an economic standpoint. Unless crude and natural gas can keep up positive momentum for a while, it'll be hard for Transocean to make a lot of progress.