Estee Lauder Shows Impressive Profits, Pushing the Stock Market Higher
Corporate profits are fueling prices in the stock market ... for now.
The impressive fourth quarter financial results from Estee Lauder Companies this morning gave the company's stock an 11.64 percent pop, the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. The cosmetics and skin-care product manufacturer defied concerns about slowing overseas economies. It had an 11 percent increase in revenues after adjusting for currency moves, with sales up 13 percent in Europe/Middle East/Africa -- its biggest market -- and 17 percent in Asia Pacific -- its fastest-growing market. It also raised guidance for its outlook this year.
Clothing maker Ralph Lauren Corp. was also rewarded for good results. It topped earnings and sales expectations by healthy margins and saw its stock jump 8.39 percent.
Investors, however, were not so generous with Alphabet Inc. The last of the FAANG stocks to report this quarter easily beat sales and earnings estimates, but Wall Street analysts were disappointed with rising costs and falling advertising prices on the company's internet platforms. The stock was down as much as three percent before climbing back to a 1.16 percent gain on the day.
The broader market also rallied in the afternoon. The Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 0.68 percent and 0.47 percent respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.74 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ ended the day up 0.96 percent.
The rest of the tech sector was moderately positive with twelve of thirteen stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ posting gains. TripAdvisor Inc. had the biggest in the sector, rising 4.04 percent. Amazon.com, (1.56 percent) and Akamai Technologies, (1.69 percent) were also up smartly.
Oil and gas producer Hess Corp. had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, falling 2.26 percent. Weak U.S. factory orders data sent the price of oil down 1.56 percent on the day. Other notable declines included Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, (-1.02 percent) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, (-0.71 percent), both down for the second consecutive day. Capital One Financial was also down 0.65 percent.
Good financial results are being rewarded this reporting season. So far, average earnings growth for the S&P 500 companies that have reported is over 12 percent. That's less than expected three months ago, but it's the fifth straight quarter of double-digit profit growth. The average return after an earnings release this quarter has been a 1.12 percent gain, the best showing in the last nine years, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
The market, however, is worried about the future and with good reason. Wall Street estimates of Q1 corporate earnings growth have plummeted, according to data from FactSet. The current expectation is for a 0.8 percent decline in profits year over year in the first quarter, with the technology sector, (-8.9 percent), expected to be hit hardest.
There's a week left in this earnings season. Enjoy it, because it may be as good as it gets for a while.
The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.