What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Markets Fool.com

Image source: Getty Images.

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A late-afternoon slump wasn't enough to keep stocks from posting gains on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes each finished higher by about 0.1%.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

0.12%

23.70

S&P 500

0.13%

2.94

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Oil prices fell ahead of a key production meeting by OPEC this week. In response, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEMKT: USO)dipped by nearly 4%. Meanwhile, gold price volatility wracked the leveraged Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT), pushing it down 2%.

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As for individual stocks, Amicus Therapeutics(NASDAQ: FOLD) and Tiffany(NYSE: TIF) made headlines with unusually large moves following their quarterly earnings announcements.

Amicus Therapeutics gets delayed

Amicus Therapeutics shares plunged by 22% following news that its entry in the U.S. market for its Fabry disease treatment, migalastat, will be delayed. The biotech company failed to convince the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approval of the drug, and so the U.S. market, which is responsible for 25% of estimated global demand, remains out of reach for now.

Image source: Getty Images.

Executives had hoped to gain quick access, considering the treatment recently won full approval for marketing in the European Union. "While we believe that the totality of the data from our studies with migalastat support the submission of a new drug application today," Amicus Therapeutics CEO John Crowley said in a press release, "we acknowledge the FDA's position that accelerated approval ... is not currently an option."

The company will now participate in a year-long trial designed to collect data to support its approval in the U.S. market, which obviously will reduce the sales prospects for the drug over the short term. Executives are confident that it will be approved, despite the delay. In the meantime, migalastat is already commercially available in Germany under the trade name Galafold and should enter most European countries by the end of 2017.

Tiffany sees a glimmer of a turnaround

Tiffany shares rose by as much as 8% before settling to a 3% gain following the jewelry retailer's third-quarter results. The headline numbers hinted at a potential rebound in sales trends. Comparable-store sales fell by 6%, marking an improvement over the 9% drop Tiffany endured for the first half of the year. Its U.S. segment showed signs of life as comps improved to a 2% decline from 10%.

Image source: Getty Images.

Executives said they were pleased with the uptick, but noted that it was still too early to call it a sturdy rebound. "We are encouraged by some early signs of improvement in sales trends, but we clearly need more positive data over time before this can be considered an inflection point," CEO Frederic Cumenal said in a press release.

Positive news wasn't just limited to sales growth trends. Tiffany managed higher gross profit margin as well, thanks to lower raw material costs and increased prices. Net earnings rose 5% to outpace the reported 1% uptick in revenue.

Still, Tiffany issued a cautious outlook that assumes the recent improvements don't portend a quick recovery over the holiday season. Cumenal and his management team reaffirmed their prior guidance that calls for sales, operating margin, and earnings to all decline for the full year. Given that conservative market reading by the company, investors should resist the urge to start celebrating a turnaround for the business just yet.

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