Source: ThinkstockDecember 28, 2017: The S&P 500 closed up 0.2% at 2,687.45. The DJIA closed up 0.25% at 24,836.54. Separately, the Nasdaq wasup 0.2%at 6,950.16.
Thursday was a relatively positive day for the markets, albeit a slow one. While the exchanges did not hit new highs they were easily within striking distance. Crude oil recovered slightly on the day, and is less than a dollar away from $60. The S&P 500 sectors were nearly all positive. The best performing sectors were utilities and real estate, up 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively. The worst performing sector was consumer staples down 0.2%.
Crude oil was up 0.4% at $59.88.
Gold was up 0.4% at $1,297.10.
The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST) which traded down about 2% at $62.99. The stocks 52-week range is $41.02 to $64.79. Volume was just over 1 million versus the daily average of about 2 million shares.
Top Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Discover Financial Services(DFS)
- [By Matthew Cochrane]
While a new year has been ushered in, it is clear PayPal’s philosophy has not changed. Last week, PayPal entered into another major agreement, this time with credit card issuerDiscover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS).
- [By JACK HOUGH]
Like CVS, Discover has trounced the broad market over the long term but sold off recently. It’s down more than 15% this year. Costs rose early in the year in part due to one-time expenses related to anti-money-laundering efforts and other regulatory concerns. Analysts predict an offsetting decline in expenses next year. Don’t confuse Discover with a company that’s primarily in the business of running a credit-card network, like Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA). It’s basically a credit-card lender, like Capital One Financial (COF), that runs its own network to gain a competitive advantage.
By saving on network fees, Discover can offer attractive card rewards, including a popular cash-back program. Any card lender can offer cash back, of course, but being too aggressive risks hurting margins. Discover has grown its portfolio of credit-card loans much faster than big banks have in recent years. And it has done so with industry-leading returns on capital. Rising growth could be on the way. Early this year, Discover went on a marketing spree. Last quarter, it reported its best card growth since 2007. Historically, new-card growth and loan growth have been closely correlated. In a November note to investors, Morgan Stanley analyst Cheryl Pate predicted accelerating loan growth within six months. Meanwhile, defaults remain low. Shares sell for less than 10 times projected earnings for the next four quarters, down from 12 times at the end of last year. They could rise 20% on a combination of earnings growth and a valuation rebound. The dividend yield is 2%.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
We get the bull case.American Express is a blue-chip Dow component with an iconic global brand. It generates >30% returns on tangible, but it is trading well below its historical multiple and has underperformed post the election. Costco is now in the rearview mirror, and the string of negative surprises that have weighed on the stock are now poised to abate and position the company to start surprising positively. With Capital One Financial (COF), Discover Financial Services (DFS), and Synchrony Financial (SYF) all trading near their historical peaks, some have concluded thatAmerican Express is headed back to its historical high above $90. While this thought process may sound logical, we believe it only works in a world where generalists are steering the ship, and view it as highly susceptible to unraveling when negative revisions hit. American Express is not the business it once was, it doesnt have the same earnings power, and, in our view, it doesnt deserve to trade near its historical valuation.
Top Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Meritage Corporation(MTH)
- [By Jason Hall]
WhenMeritage Homes Corp(NYSE:MTH) last reported earnings to wrap up fiscal 2016, it left investors with reason to be concerned. The company finished the year with strong 15% home-closing revenue growth in the fourth quarter, 19% home-closing revenue growth for the full year, and a 15% jump in earnings per share for the year. Unfortunately, the homebuilder reported that its unit sales, and that its backlog of homes on order, were down from the year-ago period in the fourth quarter — not a positive metric considering the general strength of the new homes market and the company’s success in expanding and growing in recent years.
Top Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Arris Group Inc(ARRS)
- [By Michael A. Robinson]
Based in San Francisco, Dedrone also has the backing of Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba Networks, a unit of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Inc. (NYSE: HPE); and Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus Wireless, a unit of Arris International PLC (Nasdaq: ARRS).
Top Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.(BUFF)
- [By Peter Graham]
The Q3 2016 earnings report formid cap pet stock Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (NASDAQ: BUFF)is scheduled for after the market closes onThursday (November 10th) with earnings beating expectations the last time around.
- [By Monica Gerson] Related BUFF Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Crude Oil Rises 3.5%; Zagg Shares Fall Following Weak Q4 Results Mid-Day Market Update: Blue Buffalo Pet Products Rises Following Strong Q4 Results; Ocean Rig UDW Shares Slide Blue Buffalo Pet Products' (BUFF) CEO Kurt Schmidt on Q1 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha)
Related ARMK Earnings Scheduled For May 11, 2016 Earnings Scheduled For February 10, 2016
Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:
- [By Peter Graham]
Mid cap pet stock Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (NASDAQ: BUFF)reportedQ1 2017 earnings after the market closed Tuesday.Net sales increased 7.9% to $302.0 million driven primarily by volume growth. Net sales of Dry Foods increased 6.4% to $245.2 million while net sales of Wet Foods, Treats and Other Products increased15.1% to $56.8 million. Net income increased 18.1% to $44.1 million and cash and cash equivalents were $338.2 million as of March31, 2017 versus $292.7 million as of December31, 2016. The CEO commented:
- [By Peter Graham]
A long term performance chart shows shares of Petmed Express giving a steady performance before jolting higher this yearand pet stock peerCentral Garden & Pet Co (NASDAQ: CENT) also being agood performer while pet food stocks Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (NASDAQ: BUFF) and Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ: FRPT) have not yet lived up to investor expectations:
- [By Peter Graham]
A long term performance chart shows shares of Petmed Express and pet stock peerCentral Garden & Pet Co (NASDAQ: CENT) being outstanding performers over the last year or two while pet food stocks Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (NASDAQ: BUFF) and Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ: FRPT) have not yet lived up to investor expectations:
Top Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: North American Energy Partners, Inc.(NOA)
- [By Lisa Levin]
In trading on Tuesday, energy shares slipped by 1.36 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Northern Oil & Gas, Inc. (NYSE: NOG), down 9 percent, and North American Energy Partners Inc.(USA) (NYSE: NOA), down 6 percent.