JPMorgan Chase, FedEx, Alphabet: Stocks That Defined the Week

Date : 01/18/2020 @ 12:49AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Target Corp (TGT)
Quote : 117.83  1.2 (1.03%) @ 9:42PM
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JPMorgan Chase, FedEx, Alphabet: Stocks That Defined the Week

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By Francesca Fontana 

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

America's biggest banks are churning out big profits -- and that's a good sign for the U.S. economy. Consumer borrowing and a rebound in investment-banking revenue propelled JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup Inc. to double-digit earnings growth in the latest quarter. It was a different story at Wells Fargo & Co., which reported a 53% drop in fourth-quarter profit after setting aside another $1.5 billion to cover costs associated with its 2016 fake-account scandal. JPMorgan shares gained 1.2% Tuesday.

Lululemon Athletica Inc.

The holiday stretch was kind to Lululemon. The sportswear company said shoppers responded well to its merchandise, especially men's apparel, during a critical shopping period in November and December. Lululemon originally fueled its business by selling women relatively expensive yoga pants and related clothing, and now Chief Executive Calvin McDonald wants to double Lululemon's men's business by the end of 2023 with items like a $198 jacket and sweatpants that cost $128. Revenue for men's apparel rose 38% year-over-year in the quarter, with strong sales of outerwear, pants and underwear. Lululemon raised its earnings guidance for the fourth quarter and shares gained 4.4% Monday.

FedEx Corp.

Amazon.com Inc. delivered some good news to FedEx this week. The online retailer on Tuesday notified its third-party merchants that they could once again use FedEx's Ground network to ship orders placed under Amazon's Prime membership program. That move reversed a ban on the service imposed nearly a month ago because of performance issues. FedEx's Ground network was blocked for the final rush before Christmas and several weeks thereafter. An Amazon spokesman said FedEx Ground has been reinstated for Prime shipments fulfilled by third-party sellers now that the services are consistently meeting the retailer's on-time delivery requirements. FedEx shares gained 1.8% Tuesday.

Target Corp.

Whether Target's turnaround plan is actually on target became an open question following a disclosure of sluggish holiday toy sales. "We faced challenges throughout November and December in key seasonal merchandise categories and our holiday sales did not meet our expectations," said Chief Executive Brian Cornell, who after taking the helm in 2014 launched a plan that included store remodeling and investment in Target's digital platform. Target cited weak sales of toys and electronics, two categories that are big sellers during the gift-giving season. The Minneapolis-based chain also said Wednesday it was appointing a new executive to oversee its fleet of roughly 1,800 stores. Shares fell 6.6% Wednesday.

Microsoft Corp.

The software giant built by Bill Gates wants to eliminate all emissions produced since the time of its founding. This pledge was among the commitments Microsoft made Thursday to show greater awareness of environmental concerns. It would become "carbon negative" by 2030, meaning it will take more carbon out of the air than produced by its operations and supply chain. By 2050, it will have eliminated all emissions created since the company started in 1975. The moves -- which include a pledge to spend $1 billion -- go a step beyond promises made by some of its high-profile Silicon Valley competitors. Still, Microsoft's environmental stance has faced criticism over the company's links to the oil-and-gas industry. Microsoft shares rose 1.8% Thursday.

Alphabet Inc.

Google parent Alphabet became the fourth U.S. company ever to hit a $1 trillion market value Thursday. The search-engine giant joins peers Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as the only firms to reach the threshold during intraday trading. Apple and Amazon accomplished the feat in the summer of 2018, while Microsoft hit $1 trillion for the first time in April of last year. The large gains for technology stocks come with these companies rising to the forefront of the world economy and entering new arenas such as health care and transportation. Alphabet shares gained 0.9% Thursday.

Gap Inc.

Old Navy won't be leaving the Gap after all. The company that owns both brands said late Thursday that it was backing away from a plan to split the companies because it would have been too expensive and difficult to achieve. Weaker results also pushed the struggling company to reverse course. Old Navy had been a bright spot for its parent company, but the business has stalled more recently. The company's other brands, which include Banana Republic and Athleta, have also struggled with falling sales. Hundreds of those chains' stores have been closed in recent years. Gap shares fell 0.4% Friday.

Write to Francesca Fontana at francesca.fontana@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 17, 2020 19:34 ET (00:34 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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