What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Image source: Getty Images.

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Stocks slipped on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI)falling by over 0.5% as the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC)index posted a more modest decline.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.54%)

(107.04)

S&P 500

(0.09%)

(2.03)

Data source: Yahoo Finance.

A jump in gold prices helped VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETFs (NYSEMKT: GDX) rise 3% and the higly leveraged Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT) jump higher by 9%.

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Meanwhile, earnings season produced large price swings in a few stocks individual stocks, including Under Armour (NYSE: UA) (NYSE: UAA) and UPS (NYSE: UPS).

Under Armour ends its win streak

Under Armour shares lost more than a fifth of their value after the sports apparel maker's market-beating growth streak ended in a dramatic fashion. Revenue in the fourth quarter rose by just 12%, compared with the 22% increase management projected back in late October. It was the first time in 27 straight quarters that Under Armour's expansion pace was below 20%.

Image source: Getty Images.

Gross profit margin also plummeted to a new low, falling 4 percentage points to 45% of sales as aggressive price cuts were needed to keep inventory moving through the system. The relative outperformance of the footwear business and the international segment, which carry lower margins than the core U.S. apparel segment, hurt profitability, too.

Executives sought to put the brutal fourth-quarter figures in broader perspective. "We are incredibly proud that in 2016, we once again posted record revenue and earnings," CEO Kevin Plank said in a press release. "However," he continued, "numerous challenges and disruptions in North American retail tempered our fourth quarter results."

Under Armour now sees 2017 sales growth at around 12% rather than the 20% it had expected to achieve, which should push its goal of $7.5 billion of annual revenue next year out of reach. The bottom-line figures will be significantly lower, too, and so it makes sense that investors would send the stock down to account for the weaker growth trend.

UPS speeds up sales growth

UPS dropped 6% after posting solid fourth-quarter results paired with a weak outlook for the coming year. Spiking e-commerce demand helped sales rise 6% in the domestic segment to outpace the 5% increase in volume. The international division enjoyed stronger gains, with shipments up 8%.

"Revenue and volume growth accelerated during the holiday season," CEO David Abney said in a press release." Executives were also pleased that their investments in automation initiatives paid off by helping save money, improve efficiency, and protect operating profits.

However, the company's bottom-line earnings were weaker than expected. Adjusted earnings ticked up to $1.63 per share to miss censuses estimates by $0.06 per share. The shortfall meant that UPS ended at the low end of its 2016 target profit range, which executives blamed on unfavorable product mix changes and weakness in the industrial production segment of the economy. These trends should pinch 2017 results slightly, too. The package delivery giant forecast $6 per share of adjusted earnings this year, while Wall Street was targeting closer to $6.16 per share.

UPS's long-term outlook is intact, though, leaving the company positioned for solid growth both in the U.S. and internationally as the billions it has invested in upgrading its shipping networks continue to make it harder for rivals to challenge its dominant delivery market status.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Under Armour (C Shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Under Armour (A Shares) and Under Armour (C Shares). The Motley Fool recommends United Parcel Service. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.