What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Stocks dipped slightly on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes each finishing lower by less than 0.5%.

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Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.29%)

(59.86)

S&P 500

(0.08%)

(1.98)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF)lost ground, dropping 0.1% as financial stocks ticked down. Meanwhile, a slight dip in gold prices sent theDirexion Jr Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: JNUG)lower by 1%.

As for individual stocks, a few retailers took the spotlight with fresh readings on their holiday-season results and new forecasts for the year ahead. Investors weren't pleased with the figures fromGameStop (NYSE: GME)or Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL), as both stocks finished sharply lower following their fourth-quarter earnings announcements.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Finish Line slashes prices

Finish Line stock approached a new seven-year low, down 19.5% after the shoe and apparel retailer's fourth-quarter numbers came in below expectations. Comparable-store sales fell by 4.5%, which was within the range of losses that management had forecast back in December. However, the company had to slash prices to keep its inventory moving through the system. Gross profit margin dropped 5 percentage points to 29% of sales and so Finish Line generated just $0.50 per share in adjusted earnings, compared to executives' projection of $0.68 to $0.73 per share.

"Our fourth quarter earnings performance represented a disappointing finish to a challenging year financially for our company," CEO Sam Sato said. "As elements of our footwear offering did not resonate with our customers as we expected and the overall retail environment in February became increasingly difficult, we made the decision to get more aggressive on pricing."

Sato and his team are projecting sales and profit growth in the new fiscal year. Their focus is on improving their merchandising choices to reconnect with the shopper base after a tough holiday quarter. Poor customer traffic trends across the industry will make that challenge even more difficult, but at least the retailer is entering 2017 in a healthy inventory position.

GameStop forecasts lower profits

GameStop shares lost almost 14% following the release of the company'sdisappointing fourth-quarter earnings results. Weak demand in its core video game business -- both for new hardware and software -- sent sales down 16% over the holiday quarter, consistent with management's early January predictions. Yet gross profit margin expanded nicely, rising to a record 35% for the full 2016 year.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company posted solid growth in complementary business lines, like consumer electronics and collectibles, and overall the segments that aren't tied to physical video game sales grew to 37% of operating profit from 25% a year earlier. GameStop is targeting reaching 50% for this figure by 2019. "GameStop's transformation continued to take hold in 2016," CEO Paul Raines said in a press release, "as our non-gaming businesses drove gross margin expansion and significantly contributed to our profits."

The retailer forecast improving sales trends for the new fiscal year, with comps dropping by 0% to 5% compared to last year's 11% slump. Earnings will likely fall for the second straight year, though. Net income is projected to stop at between $320 million and $354 million after weighing in at $353 million last year and a record $403 million in 2015.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has the following options: short April 2017 $28 puts on GameStop. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.