What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Stocks took a turn lower during the final hour of trading on Friday, and that was enough to leave both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes in negative territory for the day.

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Today's stock market


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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Financial stocks were the hardest hit as a group, but they still stuck near all-time highs. The Financial Sector SPDR Select ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF) fell by 1%. Meanwhile,Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT)dropped 1.3%.

As for individual stocks, Tiffany (NYSE: TIF) and Caleres (NYSE: CAL) were two of the biggest movers following fresh quarterly reports from the retailers.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Tiffany projects a growth rebound

Tiffany stock gained almost 3% after the luxury goods specialist posted decent quarterly results and forecast a return to sales growth in the year ahead. Revenue fell 3% over the holiday season as sales declined across most of its geographies, led by a weak U.S. market that fell 3%. A double-digit spike in Japan wasn't enough to overcome that U.S. slump and a decline in Europe.

However, Tiffany managed a healthy increase in profitability. Gross margin improved to 62.2% of sales from 60.7% last year as the company held the line on its premium pricing. Interim CEO Michael Kowalski said the results were held back by "macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges" that the management team believes "will continue in 2017."

Image source: Tiffany.

Yet executives believe Tiffany will return to sales growth in 2017 after two straight years of declines. Sales are projected to rise slightly, with profits improving at a faster pace thanks to continued steady margin expansion. That's about the best result the retailer could hope for as it searches for a new chief executive who will be tasked with recapturing lost market share and returning the company to healthy sales and profit gains.

Caleres sales gains slow to a crawl

Shares of footwear retailer Caleres slumped nearly 12% following the release of the company's fiscal fourth-quarter results. Sales rose 5%, as expected, to put the company right within management's full-year guidance. Profitability also held up well given the competitive sales environment. Gross margin ticked up to 40.8% of sales from 40.4% last year. "Despite a promotional and challenging retail environment," CEO Diane Sullivan said in a press release, "we maintained our consistent approach of managing the areas under our control while continuing to rapidly respond to changing consumer shopping behaviors."

The company generated a $6.6 million loss in the period, compared to an $11 million gain last year. But strip out a restructuring charge, though, and adjusted earnings rose by 25%.

Sullivan and her team issued a conservative forecast for the current year that was likely the main reason for the stock's Friday decline. Given that comps growth stalled at its core Famous Footwear segment, executives say they "expect to see continued pressure in retail based on the current environment." Overall sales are projected to increase by roughly 6.5% to $2.75 billion at the midpoint of guidance, but the company could see falling profit margins in some segments as an increasing percentage of its business moves to the online sales channel.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.