Why The Buckle, Hooker Furniture, and Freeport-McMoRan Slumped Today

By Markets Fool.com


Image: The Buckle.

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Thursday was a tough day for the stock market, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both fell more than 1% on continuing fears about the future of the global economy. In general, investors seemed poised to move toward safe-haven investments, as the price of gold climbed 1.5%, and 10-year bond yields fell below the 1.7% mark.

The downward move left the S&P below where it began the year, but some stocks did much worse on Thursday. Among the poorest performing stocks on the day were The Buckle , Hooker Furniture , and Freeport-McMoRan .

The Buckle fell 12% after reporting a huge decline in its March net sales results. Same-store sales for the five weeks ending on April 2 fell 11.8%, with the retailer posting revenue of just $96.6 million for the fiscal month. The big drop was much larger than the roughly 6% decline that investors had expected to see, and it pulled Buckle's year-to-date comps down by double-digit percentages, as well. Coming after what had looked like an encouraging quarterly report for the holiday quarter back in March, Buckle's sluggish start to the new fiscal year indicates that the retail industry is still going through difficult times.

Hooker Furniture plunged 18% in the wake of its fourth-quarter financial report Thursday morning. Revenue for the quarter fell 6.7% compared to the year-earlier period, and the company said that profitability was hit by lower sales in the upholstery and case-goods areas, as well as increased discounting activity in all of its segments.

For the full year, Hooker Furniture managed a 1% rise in sales, and an earnings boost of 30%. But investors focused on the negative comments from CEO Paul Toms, who said that, "as we look ahead, we are prepared for the current weaker demand environment to persist through spring and summer." The company will do what it can to bolster sales, including a boost in marketing in hopes of spurring greater demand. Nevertheless, for now, investors need to be ready for a slow start to 2016.

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Finally, Freeport-McMoRan fell 8%. Speculation that Chinese stockpiles of copper might get released onto the open market weighed on the commodity market, and the potential for exports of the metal has huge implications for what Freeport and fellow copper producers can expect in terms of pricing for the future.

Copper futures prices fell to $2.07 per pound Thursday, marking about a 10% decline in just the past few weeks, and erasing most of the progress that the commodity had made since the beginning of the year. With Freeport also taking a hit from the weakness in oil prices due to its exposure to the energy business, investors have to be prepared for the potential double whammy if the brief bounce in copper turns out to have been short-lived.

The article Why The Buckle, Hooker Furniture, and Freeport-McMoRan Slumped Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold,. 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.