A massive sell off dominated most headlines this week, as investors continued profit taking. Hardest hit were the so called momentum stocks, referring to high-flying popular companies like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). In addition biotechnology companies were affected. Analysts don’t seem to think this is the end of the bull market, but rather an adjustment back to stocks with lower prices and better value.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released minutes of their March 19 meeting. Policy makers agreed to drop the unemployment target as a condition for raising rates. The minutes reiterated the belief that the Fed will remain very accommodating in its efforts to keep the recovery on track.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending April 5th was released at 300,000, a massive 32,000 drop from the prior week. This was the largest drop in more than 10 years and the lowest number since May 2007. China’s March exports fell 6.6%, greater than expected, however, it’s partly due to regulators removing inflated data in an attempt to make numbers more accurate. On Friday, the Producer Price Index for March rose .5%, much higher than expectations. JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) also said its first quarter profit fell 19% and revenue fell to $5.2 billion from $6.5 billion compared to a year ago. Markets opened lower on the news.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) kicked off earnings season on Tuesday when the company released their first quarter earnings after the bell and was able to beat analysts’ projections. Alcoa reported an adjusted net income of $98 million or $0.09 per share. The company also forecast a recovery for aluminum anticipating demand to rise in specific sectors. Alcoa’s stock opened strongly on the news.
Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) announced their fourth quarter financials Thursday morning and surged at the open as the numbers topped projections. Shares rose to their highest levels in over 10 years after the company also provided a better-than-expected forecast for the year. The company reported tha revenue increased 2.2% to $6.57 billion, barely beating estimates of $6.54 billion, while same store sales jumped 2.1% and pharmacy sales jumped 3.5%.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) caught a lot of eyes as the stock moved near its 52-week low after announcing a disappointing first quarter forecast which was below analysts’ estimates. The company expects to see first quarter earnings between $0.92 and $0.96 per share, while analysts projected earnings of approximately $1.02 per share. In the fourth quarter, profits declined to $1.60 per share while company revenues also decreased, from $3.4 billion to $3.2 billion.
Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) surprised investors after the company released their March sales. The company reported same store sales within the U.S. increased by 6% and international same store sales increased 4%. Net sales increased 8%, jumping to $10.4 billion.