Thursday morning gave investors a boost, as major indexes bounced back from yesterday's declines. The explosion of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman sent oil prices sharply higher, and that helped buoy stocks in the energy sector. As of just after 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) was up 32 points to 26,037. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) climbed 7 points to 2,887, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) was higher by 37 points to 7,829.
Even amid the geopolitical implications of oil-related conflict near the Persian Gulf, individual companies still made their own business decisions to make the most of their growth opportunities. For Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), that meant looking more closely at the market for plant-based meat alternatives, which have swept the nation and gained a lot of popularity in recent weeks. Meanwhile, yoga apparel retailer lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) offered its latest report on its financial performance, and the results show that the company is still reaping the rewards of having regained customers' trust following quality-control issues several years ago.
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Tyson goes beyond meat
Shares of Tyson Foods were up between 1% and 2% as investors digested its latest strategic move. The meat processor decided to get with the trend toward plant-based foods by unveiling its own product line of offerings in the space.
Tyson's new Raised & Rooted brand will address changing consumer trends. The company said that it expects to launch plant-based nuggets later this year, along with blended burgers that combine both plant-based protein and regular beef in a single product. The brand will coordinate with Tyson's existing Aidells brand, which has launched sausage and meatball products with a blend of chicken and plant-based ingredients.
CEO Noel White made it clear that Tyson doesn't intend to eliminate meat entirely. "For us, this is about 'and' -- not 'or,'" White said, and the company is still "firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business" while expecting to lead in alternative proteins as well.
Tyson's move undoubtedly stems from the huge positive response that specialists in plant-based proteins have gotten recently. How consumers will react to a mainstream company adapting its products to match up with changing tastes remains to be seen, but shoppers can expect to see many more meat substitutes get launched in the coming months.
Lululemon's stock stretches higher
Meanwhile, shares of Lululemon Athletica picked up 2% after the company released its first-quarter financial report late Wednesday. The yoga apparel retailer continued to build positive momentum after moving beyond the serious challenges it faced just a few short years ago.
Lululemon's latest numbers showed how far the retailer has come. Revenue jumped 20% on a 14% rise in comparable sales, with solid performance from both its retail locations and its e-commerce channel. Efforts to improve margin without sacrificing product quality were successful, and 15 new store locations helped to extend the reach of the yoga retailer's network even further.
Just as with the interest in plant-based foods, yoga has gained in popularity in recent years as a growing group of people turn to the practice as a way of promoting health and wellness. Lululemon's approach toward the industry feeds into that narrative, offering not just the products to do yoga but also the additional information to get the most out of it. At the same time, though, the company has sought to cater to athletes of all types, and moves to expand its product categories have seen good results.
In a tough retail environment, Lululemon has done well to bounce back from its quality-control concerns and restore its reputation with its core audience. Investors seem optimistic that Lululemon is well-positioned to keep growing.
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