What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Image source: Getty Images.

Continue Reading Below

Stocks rose on Friday as both theDow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes finished higher by more than 0.25%.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

0.48%

94.85

S&P 500

0.34%

7.62

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Financial stocks remained popular on a day that saw a new administration take over the executive branch, and that kept theFinancial Sector Select SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF)among the most heavily traded exchange-traded funds. Meanwhile, gold price volatility swung in the positive direction for owners of theDirexion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT), which gained 3% on the day.

Continue Reading Below

As for individual stocks, Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ: SWKS) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) stood out with big moves higher.

Procter & Gamble keeps its momentum going

Procter & Gamble shares gained 3% following the release of surprisingly strong quarterly earnings results. For the second straight quarter, the consumer goods giant enjoyed healthy volume-driven revenue growth as organic sales rose by 2%. That result was a slowdown from the prior quarter's 3% boost, and it wasn't quite enough to end P&G's overall market share slide. However, it was still a solid performance given intense competition and an overall flat industry. "We delivered good results in the second quarter in a difficult operating environment," CEO David Taylor said in a press release.

Image source: P&G.

Cost cuts pushed profitability higher despite increased investments in marketing and product innovation. P&G's gross margin rose by more than a percentage point, in fact, and its operating profit margin jumped by 2.3 percentage points. The company's earnings surged higher due to a one-time benefit from its Coty beauty product sales. Stripping that out still left core profit up by 9%.

That success puts P&G on track to achieve its long-run target of at least 5% annual earnings growth in 2017 after posting a 2% decline in each of the last two fiscal years. Yet the best news for investors is that the company sees reason for optimism on the top line. P&G raised its full-year organic sales outlook to 2.5% from 2%.

Skyworks beats expectations

Skyworks solutions shares rallied 13% higher after the company beat its sales guidance and issued an aggressive outlook for the current quarter. Revenue declined for the third straight quarter, but its $914 million sales figure was ahead of management's forecast. The same trend held for earnings, with the semiconductor specialist producing $1.61 per share of profit compared to the $1.58 per share executives had targeted.

"Skyworks delivered exceptional financial results...fueled by global demand for ubiquitous mobile connectivity and the Internet of Things," CEO Liam Griffin said in a press release. "We are enabling the next phase of the wireless revolution," he continued, "powering new and previously unimagined applications."

The fiscal second quarter is usually a slow period for the industry following the surge in consumer product sales in the first quarter. However, Skyworks thinks that its broader product pipeline will allow it to buck that trend and show solid growth for the first time in a year.

The company predicts an 8% sales boost for the current quarter to $840 million as earnings rise to $1.40 per share. Consensus estimates were much less optimistic, modeling $818 million of sales and $1.24 per share of revenue. As a result, investors are raising their expectations, and lifting Skyworks' stock price in the process.

10 stocks we like better than Procter and Gamble
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Procter and Gamble wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of January 4, 2017

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Skyworks Solutions. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.