What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Stocks churned in place on Thursday, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes falling by less than 0.25%.

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Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.02%)

(4.72)

S&P 500

(0.11%)

(2.49)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Financial stocks saw some of the heaviest trading and as a group slightly outperformed the market. Following two straight days of declines, theFinancial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF)ended up 0.2%. A dip in gold prices helped keep pressure on bullish bets on the precious metal, withDirexion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT)dropping 3%.

Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE) and PVH (NYSE: PVH) were two of the biggest individual stock movers following surprises in their latest quarterly earnings reports.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Five Below wins in the holidays

Five Below shares jumped almost 11% after the specialty retailer met its broad targets. Comparable-store sales for the critical holiday quarter rose 1%, just as the company predicted they would in early January. The uptick allowed Five Below to cross $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time, thanks mainly to a big increase in the store base that powered a 20% spike in overall revenue. "The strength of our business model, commitment to delivering unbelievable value to our customers and disciplined execution continue to drive our success," CEO Joel Anderson said.

Image source: Five Below.

Gross profitability in the quarter rose to 41% of sales, which suggests the company didn't have to resort to sharp price cuts to hold on to its market share in a competitive sales environment.

Five Below is aiming for a more aggressive expansion pace ahead by opening 100 stores in 2017, compared to 85 last year and 71 in fiscal 2015. Comps should increase at about the same 2% pace that the retailer managed this past year. And while that's hardly robust growth, investors prize the kind of consistency that the retailer is delivering right now; fiscal 2016 was its 11th consecutive year of comp gains.

PVH beats expectations

Shares of branded apparel specialist PVH gained about 8.5% following the release of the company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results. Sales over the holiday season held flat while earnings stopped at $1.26 per share. Both figures were well above management's forecast. In fact, their full-year target for earnings was between $6.51 and $6.56 while actual profit came in at $6.79 per share. Similarly, revenue growth for the year ended at 4%, rather than the 3% that executives had predicted. "We are very pleased with our fourth quarter results, which exceeded both our sales and earnings guidance despite the volatile macroeconomic environment and the highly promotional retail market in the U.S.," CEO Emanuel Chirico said in a press release.

Image source: Calvin Klein.

Looking deeper into the results, PVH saw zero growth for the quarter in the Calvin Klein brand as big gains in Europe and China were offset by losses in the North American division. The Tommy Hilfiger segment, meanwhile, posted strong growth in Europe that more than offset weakness in North America. Profitability ticked higher overall because the company scaled back on price cuts.

Chirico and his executive team issued an aggressive outlook for the current year that targets continued healthy momentum as revenue rises 4% and earnings improve to between $7.30 and $7.40 per share, up 8% at the midpoint of guidance.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Five Below. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.