Why Big Lots and Foot Locker Jumped

Investors seemed to get what they were looking for out of today's jobs report, but stocks still held steady as the Dow Jones Industrial Average  gained 31 points, or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 moved up a point, or just 0.05%. The Department of Labor reported that 175,000 jobs were added in February, better than estimates at 163,000, while the unemployment report ticked up to 0.1%, to 6.7%, above estimates at 6.6%, a reflection of more people looking for work as the number of long-term unemployed increased 203,000, to 3.8 million. The Department also revised December and January job counts upward by a total of 25,000, showing job growth earlier in the winter was not as poor as suspected. Still, any positive bump from the jobs report could have been neutralized by rising tensions in Ukraine, as the Russian government said it had the right to annex Crimea, rebuffing threats of sanctions from the U.S. and other western powers. European stocks were also down sharply on the military standoff, as the German DAX fell 2%. 

The employment report and continuing concerns in Ukraine dominated headlines, but there were still some individual stocks making news. Big Lots  shares exploded today, moving up 23% on a strong earnings report. The closeout retailer posted earnings of $1.45 per share, down from a profit of $2.08, but better than estimates at $1.40. Revenue fell 6%, to $1.64 billion, above expectations of $1.41 billion, and same-store sales dropped 3%. Big Lots also said it would complete the closure of its Canadian stores in the current quarter, and projected EPS of $0.40-$0.45, below estimates at $0.50, and full-year per-share profit of $2.25-$2.45, within the range of estimates at $2.44. Same-store sales are projected to be flat to 2%. Big Lots' surge seems to speak to the market's low expectations for retailers this quarter, but Big Lots' flat growth makes it unlikely that investors will see many more days like this.

Big Lots wasn't the only retailer soaring today. Foot Locker  finished the day up 8.8% after beating estimates in its fourth-quarter report. The sneaker retailer turned in a per-share profit of $0.82, ahead of expectations at $0.76, as revenue improved 4.6%, to $1.79 billion, topping the consensus at $1.77 billion. Comparable sales were up 5.3%. CEO Ken Hicks credited his team's execution for the strong quarter, and said there were a number of opportunities, including the expansion of shop-in-shops, its children's business, and banner.com, which would allow for mid-single-digit comp growth and double-digit earnings-per-share growth. Considering the environment that many retailers have been facing over the holidays, Foot Locker's report was particularly impressive. 


The best way to invest
One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks, as a group, handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that it's true. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks, in particular, are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

The article Why Big Lots and Foot Locker Jumped originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Behavioral Finance

Why do investors make the decisions that they do?

View Course »

Portfolio Basics

What are stocks? Learn how to start investing.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum