Thursday marked the beginning of third-quarter earnings season in many investors' eyes, with big bank stocks reporting their latest results. Amid a backdrop of solid economic conditions in the U.S., market participants have generally been optimistic about the outlook for the stock market, and although major market benchmarks began the day with a modest move lower, stocks generally recovered to finish mixed, and most of the popular stock market indexes, including the Dow and S&P 500, remain at or near all-time record highs. Yet some stocks reported bad news today that sent their shares lower. Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI), and Blackhawk Network Holdings (NASDAQ: HAWK) were among the best-known stocks posting declines today. Let's take a closer look to see what made these stocks lose ground.
Domino's can't keep up the pace
Domino's Pizza finished the day with nearly a 4% loss, after the pizza-delivery giant reported its third-quarter financial results. The company's results looked good on their face, with domestic same-restaurant sales climbing 8.4% and adjusted earnings per share rising by nearly a third. Yet some investors were still disappointed that growth rates slowed from previous quarters. Growth in international operations also wasn't as strong, with comps climbing by just over 5%. CEO Patrick Doyle emphasized that Domino's remains on track with its long-term strategy, but growth-oriented investors want the pizza chain to sustain faster sales and profit gains for as long as possible.
MercadoLibre gives back some ground
MercadoLibre finished lower by 10%, as the Latin American e-commerce giant eased back from its impressive recent gains. For several years, MercadoLibre struggled as the economies of Brazil and other major Latin American countries sagged under the weight of falling commodity prices. The recent rise of key commodities such as copper has started to reinvigorate the region's resource-based economies, and that bodes well for MercadoLibre's customer base. Despite inevitable bouts of profit-taking, MercadoLibre is well positioned to benefit not only from its e-commerce marketplace but also from tools such as its MercadoPago payment system and its MercadoEnvios shipping platform.
Blackhawk deals with Cardpool shortfall
Finally, Blackhawk Network Holdings fell more than 20%. In its third-quarter report, the prepaid-card and gift-card specialist said revenue was slightly weaker than expected because of poor results from its Cardpool gift-card exchange business, which it decided to treat as being for sale for accounting purposes. Blackhawk said its retail relationship with Target (NYSE: TGT) continued to drive growth, but the company predicts that rising competition in certain retail markets will hurt its ability to grow the portion of its business that relies more on brick-and-mortar locations. Blackhawk's digital business is doing well, but the company will have to endure impairment charges to restructure itself if it wants to take maximum advantage of that growing market.
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