What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Markets Fool.com

Stocks rose on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI)ticking higher into record territory as the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) index finished up nearly 0.5%.

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Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage change

Point change

Dow

0.19%

35.68

S&P 500

0.47%

10.18

Data source: Yahoo Finance.

Financial stocks resumed their stunning post-election rally as the Financial Sector Select SPDR Fund (NYSEMKT: XLF) rose 1% to reach a 13% spike over just the past week. As for major ETF losers, the volatile Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF(NYSEMKT: NUGT) sank by 4% as gold prices slipped.

Meanwhile,Best Buy(NYSE: BBY) and Cisco(NASDAQ: CSCO) posted significant swings following their quarterly earnings announcements.

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Best Buy

Best Buy shares rallied 14% after the company revealed improving business trends heading into the biggest retailing quarter of the year. Comparable-store sales increased 2%, for a decent acceleration over the prior quarter's 1% uptick. The retailer also managed much faster earnings growth as operating profit margin jumped to 4% of sales from 3% last year. "We are pleased to report today growth on both our top and bottom lines," CEO Hubert Joly said in a press release.

Image source: Getty Images.

Innovation in the consumer-electronics space helped push customer traffic higher, with leading product categories including home theater, mobile phones, and wearable tech. Gains in those areas were offset by a continued slump in video gaming.

Best Buy held the line on prices, and that discipline helped gross profit margin expand to 24.7% of sales, from 24.1%. The company soundly beat its own earnings guidance, logging non-GAAP profit of $0.62 per share compared to the $0.45 per share it forecast back in August.

Looking ahead, Joly and his team see innovation continuing to drive customers to its stores over the holidays. Sales growth is likely to stay uncomfortably close to zero, though. Still, executives aim to hit that steady figure while significantly scaling back on promotions. If it works, the strategy should result in non-GAAP earnings of as high as $3.30 per share for the full year, or 19% higher than fiscal 2016.

Cisco

Cisco was the biggest loser on the Dow, dropping 5% following the tech giant's fiscal first-quarter results. As expected, revenue ticked up by 1%, and gross margin was 64% for a slight increase over the prior quarter.

Image source: Getty Images.

Management highlighted strong growth in the routing, security, and service segments that together offset declines in major categories, including switches and collaboration hardware. The U.S. geography was Cisco's weakest as clients continued to defer their major IT spending projects. "We had a good quarter despite a challenging global business environment and we performed well in our priority areas," CEO Chuck Robbins said.

Cisco sees those challenges continuing into the current quarter, which is typically when many large clients set their budget for the coming calendar year. Robbins and his team see revenue declining by as much as 4% as gross margin ticks down to 63% of sales.

These figures translate into non-GAAPearnings of $0.56 per share, below consensus estimates of $0.59 per share. While only a slight miss, the downbeat forecast was enough to send shares lower for what remains one of the Dow's best-performing stocks in 2016.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. 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.