Tuesday morning was a nice respite for hard-hit investors. After a challenging May in which rising tensions about trade and other geopolitical risk factors weighed on markets, a more optimistic mood settled in over Wall Street following comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell that many took as suggesting lower interest rates could come sooner rather than later. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) was up 421 points to 25,241. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) soared 42 points to 2,786, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) rose 138 points to 7,471.
Investors haven't been all that happy about how Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) performed following its IPO, but today, analysts whose companies were involved in the offering finally got a chance to state their opinions about the ridesharing service's business. Meanwhile, luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany (NYSE: TIF) gave its read on the state of the upper end of the economy, and what it said was enough to make its shareholders more enthusiastic about its prospects.
Uber drives higher
Shares of Uber Technologies rose almost 2% Tuesday morning as a host of Wall Street giants weighed in on the company's prospects. Following Uber's IPO, the roughly two dozen companies that acted as underwriters in the offering observed a quiet period before covering the ridesharing business, but that period ended today.
On the whole, comments were overwhelmingly positive. Morgan Stanley weighed in with an overweight rating on the stock, opining that Uber has plenty of growth left in the tank even after 10 years of existence. Goldman Sachs called the company the "category leader" in disrupting the transportation industry in granting a buy rating. Most other top players on Wall Street issued ratings of buy, outperform, or overweight, supporting Uber as well.
One analyst stood out for being more cautious about Uber. Citi initiated its coverage on the stock with a neutral rating, setting a $45 price target. Citi believes that competition and the threat of regulation add up to uncertainty for Uber, and although many see autonomous driving as a way for Uber to cut costs related to its pool of drivers, Citi sees it as a possible threat if automakers or other companies get into the business of providing mobility services.
Even with today's gains, Uber shares are still trading below their IPO price. Some believe that won't last too much longer, but a lot will depend on how well the company performs and whether the broader market cooperates over time.
Tiffany gives investors what they want
Meanwhile, shares of Tiffany climbed 6% after the jeweler released its first-quarter financial report. Even with a mixed showing from a fundamental perspective, shareholders seemed to like the fact that the company gave them a special reward.
Tiffany's financial performance reflected the difficult conditions in the global economy. Worldwide sales were down 3%, with comparable sales falling an even steeper 5%. Weakness spread to every region of the globe, although revenue would have risen in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region had it not been for the strength of the U.S. dollar. Sales pressures contributed to a 12% drop in net income compared to the prior year's quarter.
Trade tensions have hurt Tiffany in a couple of ways, reducing the flow of tourism while also boosting expenses of acquiring certain luxury goods. The retailer's guidance reflected expectations for continuing headwinds on the trade front, including modest gains in revenue and comparable sales but challenging conditions for earnings in the second quarter.
Yet investors seemed to focus on Tiffany's 5% dividend hike, as it will pay $0.58 per share each quarter going forward. With CEO Alessandro Bogliolo boasting that "Tiffany has the financial strength to invest in growing its business while also returning capital to shareholders," investors seemed to take the move as an indication that the luxury jeweler is confident about its future.
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