Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading sideways. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday has raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point. This would be its first rate hike since 2018 as the U.S. central bank looks to taper down red-hot inflation. The Fed’s policymaking arm also hinted that it sees additional rate increases at its six remaining meetings in 2022. Fed Chair Jerome Powell also says that they might also start reducing its balance sheet in May, suggesting that the process could have an impact equal to an additional rate hike.

Also, Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is up today after reporting better-than-expected full-year sales. The company’s quarterly earnings per share was $2.57, matching forecasts. Dollar General has also raised its dividend by 31%. Elsewhere, Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG) is up by over 6% on today’s opening bell. This comes after reporting its quarterly financials. Signet’s adjusted earnings per share for the quarter was $5.01, matching analysts’ forecasts. The company has also raised its quarterly dividend to $0.20 per share.

Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are down by 0.31% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also down by 0.69%. Meanwhile, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are trading mixed on Thursday. Among the Dow financial leaders, Visa (NYSE: V) is down by 0.33% while Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) is also down by 0.92%.

Shares of EV leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are up by 1.31% on Thursday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) are also up by 1.55%. Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) is also up by 2.50% today. Chinese EV leaders like Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) opened lower today.

Dow Jones Today: 10-year Treasury Yields Highest Since 2019 & Oil Prices Rise On IEA Warning

Following the stock market opening on Thursday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are trading higher today by 0.10% and 0.28%. The Dow, however, is down by 0.05%. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) is up by 0.15% while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is up by 0.12%. 

The 10-year Treasury yield hovers at 2.176%, the highest in this pandemic era as inventors continue to digest the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike interest rates for the first time in more than three years. Oil prices also jumped on Thursday as the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that roughly 3 million barrels per day of Russian crude and refined products could be lost from oil markets in April. West Texas Intermediate crude rose by around 4.5% to trade above $99 per barrel while international benchmark Brent crude advanced to nearly $103 per barrel.

Today, the Labor Department released its latest weekly jobless claims report, citing initial jobless claims at 214,000 against the consensus estimates of 220,000. Jobless claims came in below 250,000 for the 7th consecutive week and continue to hover around pre-pandemic levels.

[Read More] Top Stock Market News For Today March 17, 2022

WSM Stock Gains Following Reveal Of Solid Earnings, $1.5 Billion Share Buyback, And Dividend Raise

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) or WSM for short, seems to be making headlines at today’s stock market open. By and large, this is likely a result of the company’s latest financial release wowing investors. For the fourth quarter, WSM posted an earnings per share of $5.42. Notably, this handily tops Wall Street’s forecasts of $4.82. At the same time, the company also raked in a total revenue of $2.5 billion, just shy of estimates of $2.58 billion. Even with the slight revenue miss, investors appear to be keen on WSM stock now. This is evident as it is currently up by over 5% at today’s opening bell.

If all that wasn’t enough, WSM also made two key announcements alongside its overall solid quarter. Firstly, the company is raising its quarterly dividend by 10%. Following the bump, WSM now offers a dividend of $0.78 per share. Accordingly, it seems that returning value to shareholders remains a key focus for WSM moving forward. Secondly, the company is also authorizing an additional $1.5 billion share repurchase program. The likes of which could indicate the company’s confidence in its ability to perform in the long run. 

Commenting on WSM’s overall quarterly performance is CEO Laura Alber. According to Alber, the company’s resilience is on full display from this latest release. She argues that the company drove record results despite dealing with several industry headwinds. This includes supply chain, material and labor shortages, and capacity limitations from robust consumer demand. Looking forward, Alber closes by saying, “I am confident that we will continue to raise the bar and extend this momentum in fiscal 2022.” With all this in mind, investors could be eyeing WSM stock today.

WSM stock
Source: TradingView

[Read More] Best Stocks To Buy Today? 3 Fintech Stocks In Focus

Accenture Posts Earnings Beats On Top And Bottom Lines; Raises Fiscal 2022 EPS Guidance

Meanwhile, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) is another name in the spotlight today after posting its latest quarterly financial update. Before today’s opening bell, the company saw earnings of $2.54 per share on revenue of $15.05 billion. To put things into perspective, this is in comparison to consensus expectations of $2.41 and $14.67 billion respectively. Regarding year-over-year changes, this adds up to gains of 24% for revenue and 14% for earnings per share. Overall, Accenture is looking at respectable growth for the quarter.

In detail, the company cites strong demand across its core professional services offerings as a growth driver here. Worth mentioning, Accenture’s new bookings are at a record high of $19.6 billion for the quarter. This represents a 22% year-over-year jump. The company notes that this is thanks to record bookings across its consulting and outsourcing divisions. On top of that, the company also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.97.

For its fiscal 2022 outlook, Accenture is also raising its current guidance. The company is now guiding for an annual earnings per share of between $10.61 to $10.81. This would top consensus estimates of $10.54. With Accenture seemingly firing on all cylinders now, I can see why ACN stock is in focus today.

ACN stock
Source: TradingView

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