The markets managed to climb their way to a higher close on Friday, but that was far from enough to offset one of the rare down weeks for stocks as tensions with North Korea escalated. In fact, the week culminated with President Trump one-upping himself, stating that perhaps his prior threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough." But putting those tensions aside, as earnings season rumbles along for investors, there are plenty of other big headlines to discuss. Here are some highlights.
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Oh, snap! That was awkward.
It's been tough sledding for Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) after its recent IPO, as the bears find it difficult to imagine how it can take on other tech and social-media juggernauts for advertising dollars. The company shed almost 15% of its value on Friday alone, after an awkward hot-mic moment Thursday night stole some of the spotlight from a dismal quarterly result. The stock has shed nearly 49% of its value over the past three months.
Just last month, Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju lowered his price target from $30 down to $25, with concerns that the company's growth trajectory is wildly volatile and that Snap insiders would be unloading their shares starting at the end of July, which would apply some pressure to its already declining stock price. Hitting closer to home, as Snap currently trades for roughly $11.80 per share, Morgan Stanley downgraded the company from "overweight" to "equal weight," with a new price target of $16.
But this week, things got worse for investors. Shares hit a record low Friday, when the company announced that its daily active user growth missed expectations for the second consecutive quarter. While second-quarter daily active users increased 21% to 173 million compared with the prior year, it was still short of estimates hoping to see that figure reach 175.2 million, according to FactSet estimates. Snap's daily active users also checked in below its chief rival, Instagram Stories, which had more than 250 million users as of Aug. 2.
Digging further into the company's second quarter, despite a 153% revenue increase to $181.7 million, the result still fell short of estimates calling for $186.2 million in sales. Its bottom-line net loss of $443 million, or $0.36 per share, was also wider than estimates calling for a $0.30-per-share loss. There was a small glimmer of hope, as my colleague Evan Niu points out, with the company improving monetization and bringing variable costs down. The truth for investors is simple: This is a wildly speculative stock in the early innings of its story, and if you can't handle swings like Friday's, you would be wise to put your money elsewhere.
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The harder they fall
How quickly things can change. What was recently a stock with a huge overhang of uncertainty removed and a respectable dividend yield, is a dividend stock no longer. Shares of engineering and construction company Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI), which one would think stands to benefit from potential infrastructure spending, reported a ruthless drop in second-quarter revenue. That plunge, combined with halting its dividend, sent shares more than 30% lower on Thursday.
The company reported revenue of $1.3 billion during the second quarter, which was far below both Wall Street's estimate of $2.44 billion and the prior-year quarter's result of $2.2 billion. Any time a company reports revenue at nearly half of analysts' estimates, it's going to be a bad week. Unfortunately for investors, the pain didn't end there. Analysts were expecting Chicago Bridge's bottom line to generate $0.85 earnings per share, and instead the company reported a loss of $3.02 per share.
The bad news didn't end with its abysmal top- and bottom-line performances, either. Management revised its guidance down for the full year, noting that revenue would check in between $3.7 billion and $4 billion for the second half of 2017. The finishing blow for investors was when the company announced that it would need to take decisive actions to improve its performance and would suspend the dividend. Even though the Delaware Supreme Court threw out a claim against Chicago Bridge in June, which removed a significant amount of uncertainty facing the company, the business looks weaker than analysts expected. And without a dividend in the near term, it's easy to understand why investors pressed the panic button this week.
Shares of Office Depot (NASDAQ: ODP) were punished this week for a poor quarter, and like a child in school getting sent to the principal's office, it got busted for inappropriate language. Starting with its financial disappointment, the company reported revenue of $2.36 billion, below analysts' estimates of $2.44 billion. Further, adjusted earnings checked in at $0.06 per share, which missed analysts' estimates of $0.08.
If that wasn't bad enough to send shares down roughly 20% during intra-day trading, then what was? Analyst Anthony Chukumba of Loop Capital Markets quipped that it was due to management's use of "the A-word" -- Amazon.com. More specifically, Office Depot management openly admitted that Amazon Business is beginning to steal business solutions market share, making it just another industry petrified of the e-commerce giant's reach and scale.
The sad truth is the retail landscape is far from what it was even a decade ago, and companies such as Office Depot, which have failed to provide value and incentive to shop at brick-and-mortar stores over its online rivals, have struggled mightily. After the U.S. Department of Justice squashed the merger between Office Depot and rival Staples, which has since gone private, investors have been left wondering what else could fuel a rebound -- and so far, nobody seems to have an answer.
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