The Barron’s 400 Index (B400) slipped 1.35 points and 0.27 percent to 494.13, with U.S. stock market investors contemplating the Federal Reserve’s next move in light of improving economic data.
Year to date, the B400 is up 35.05 percent, one of its better performances in recent years. The growth stocks with sturdy fundamentals that make up the B400 have benefited from rising profit margins in 2013.
Top percentage gainers in Wednesday’s session were G-III Apparel, CF Industries, Terra Nitrogen, InvenSense and Las Vegas Sands.
RBC Capital initiated coverage of a number of fertilizer stocks, sparking upward activity in their shares.
CF Industries (CF) jumped 10.65 percent to $237.00 and Terra Nitrogen (TNH) added 8.60 percent to $167.51.
In addition, CF Industries announced it may return more cash to shareholders and may convert the company structure to a master limited partnership.
G-III Apparel (GIII) jumped 13.81 percent after announcing Q3 EPS that topped expectations, bolstered by both retail and wholesale sales growth.
The company reported EPS of 2.81 per share vs. estimates of 2.61, revenues of $668.7 million vs. estimates of $629.3 million, and said it sees FY 2014 EPS of 3.50 to 3.60 per share vs. consensus of 3.29 per share.
InvenSense (INVN) rose 4.00 percent to $17.30.
Perennial trader favorite Las Vegas Sands (LVS) gained 4.00 percent to $74.57. The company is seeking $3.25 billion of loans to pay off existing debt.
Leading percentage decliners Wednesday included Express Inc., Methode Electronics, PDL BioPharma, MarketAxess Holdings and Delek US Holdings.
Express Inc. (EXPR) plummeted 22.98 percent to $19. The company announced Q3 EPS of 0.23 cents per share vs. estimates of 0.25. The company announced Q3 e-commerce sales jumped 29 percent, but forecast Q4 EPS of 0.66 cents to 0.71 cents per share vs. analyst expectations of 0.78 cents. The company said it expects its holiday sales promotions to reach “heightened levels.”
Methode Electronics (MEI) sagged 10.52 percent to $24.66. The company is expected to announce Q2 earnings on Thursday.
PDL BioPharma (PDLI) continued the previous session’s sharp downturn, losing 5.43 percent to $8.36 after the CEO presented at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference.
MarketAxess Holdings (MKTX), operator of a trading platform for fixed income securities, fell 4.12 percent to $64.92 after announcing its November trading volume.
Petroleum refiner Delek US Holdings (DK) lost 5.56 percent to $29.20. The company recently disclosed a drop in net profits.
Other major indexes were mixed Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrials fell 25 points to 15,890, the Nasdaq edged up 1 point to 4,038, and the S&P 500 lost 2 points to 1,793.