What's moving markets today
Elon Musk is at it again on Twitter. Even though the SEC is asking a judge to hold Musk in contempt after he recently tweeted (and then corrected) information about vehicle sales.
Musk cryptically tweeted early Thursday morning that the company will have some news to share in California on Thursday at 5 pm ET.
It's hard to know whether Musk will announce something truly newsworthy or if this is just another way for Musk to poke fun at the SEC, which he called "embarrassing" in a tweet (naturally) earlier this week. He has also previously referred to the agency as the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission."
Musk also curiously changed the name on his Twitter handle to Elon Tusk and added an elephant emoji to it. And his photo now shows a picture of Mars with an arrow pointing to part of the planet with the word "Revive" above it.
It's all very confusing. But investors may be brushing it off as Elon being Elon. Shares of Tesla (TSLA) rose nearly 5% Wednesday.
Campbell Soup (CPB) stock shot up more than 9% Wednesday after the company beat its earnings expectations and reiterated its 2019 guidance of earnings per share between $2.40 to $2.50 after its divestitures.
Net sales in the three months ending in January grew 24% compared to the same period the previous year, aided by Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods, both of which Campbell recently acquired.
The results were a far cry from Kraft Heinz's disastrous day last week. Still, some analysts think Campbell could face trouble down the line.
Campbell's margins fell during the three months ending in January because of cost inflation and higher supply chain costs, among other reasons.
Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard said that investors will have to keep an eye out for lower margins going forward.
The Dow is down after Trump's top trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the administration has a ways to go on nailing down a trade agreement with China.
Here's where the markets stand:
- Dow is down 100 points, or 0.38%.
- S&P 500 is down 15 points, or 0.19%
- Nasdaq is down 7 points, or 0.22%.
Some stocks of note:
The massive recovery in General Electric's stock price has put one of its biggest skeptics on the defensive.
"We never said the stock was going to zero," JPMorgan Chase analyst C. Stephen Tusa, Jr. told CNBC on Wednesday.
Tusa presciently called GE's downfall, which caught many on Wall Street by surprise. He remains negative on GE (GE) -- despite the fact that the stock has spiked more than 60% since its low in December.
"It has gone way too far," Tusa said, pointing to concerns about GE's power and financial divisions as well as the company's free cash flow.
GE stock jumped again on Monday after the company revealed a $21.4 billion deal to sell its BioPharma unit and pledged to use the cash to pay down its massive debt.
Despite the enthusiasm on Wall Street, Tusa kept his $6 price target on GE. That implies a 44% plunge from current levels.
However, Tusa is bullish on GE boss Larry Culp, the first outsider CEO in the company's storied history.
"We love Larry. I think Larry is a phenomenal CEO," Tusa told CNBC.
TJX Companies (TJX), which owns discount retailers Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, released a better-than-expected earnings report. Shares are flat in early trading.
Here's some highlights:
- Same-store sales grew a combined 7% at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. HomeGood sales rose 5%.
- A strong holiday shopping period boosted its fourth-quarter sales to $11.1 billion.
- CEO Ernie Herrman said the company is "capturing market share" against its competitors.
Our Nathaniel Meyersohn notes that the continued growth at TJX is bad news for Macy's (M) because the two companies customer bases' overlap, which could eat into Macy's business:
US stocks retreated at Wednesday's opening bell.
Best Buy (BBY) soared 15% on better-than-expected earnings and solid sales growth. Lowe’s (LOW) gained 4% on its own earnings beat. Mylan (MYL) plunged 10% after the EpiPen maker posted disappointing results and cautious guidance for 2019.
Beyond the latest mixed batch of earnings, investors will likely be keeping an eye on a series of high-profile events.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is testifying again on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump is meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is giving bombshell testimony and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears before lawmakers.
"Just like the opening days of the NCAA basketball tournament, today is the kind of day when it pays to have more than one TV or at the very least, a DVR," Bespoke Investment Group co-founder Paul Hickey wrote to clients.
Lowe's lost $824 million during the final quarter of 2018 after closing stores in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The store closings were part of a plan by CEO Marvin Ellison, who joined the company last year from JCPenney (JCP) and launched an ambitious turnaround plan to compete against Home Depot and other retailers.
Besides exiting Mexico and closing underperforming stores in Canada and the United States, Ellison also shut down its 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores in the United States.
Those steps weighed on Lowe's (LOW) profit during its most recent quarter, although its stock remained flat in pre-market trading Wednesday.
Lowe's sales at stores open at least a year ticked up 1.7% in the quarter compared to last year. That was lower than Home Depot (HD), which said yesterday that sales at stores open at least a year during the quarter increased 3.2% from 2017.
Ellison expects improvement in 2019.
Lowe's forecast comparable store sales to increase by 3% this year. Ellison said the economy remained strong and Lowe's would continue to invest in new technology to beef up its stores and supply chain.
We are pleased with the progress we are making in our business," he said. "We are focused on the right actions at this stage of our transformation."
Shares of WW (WTW), the company previously known as Weight Watchers, have sunk deeper after a brutal earnings report.
The company's stock plunged 35% in premarket trading.
CEO Mindy Grossman said in a statement that customer recruitment has been slow, and the company quickly "moved to course correct" with revamped advertising and media campaigns.