Bernanke smash… your market performance! The S&P 500 put on a rather yo-yo performance this afternoon following the Federal Reserve’s update to the world on its intentions for the upcoming month. With economic growth looking “modest” for the time being, the Fed will continue to hold open the firehose of QE-infinity, with $85 billion in monthly bond purchases continuing without any timetable for termination while interest rates remain as low as possible. Second verse, same as the first!
This stimulative noise from Bernanke and friends didn’t do anything to move the S&P 500 in the end — the index closed the day with a very narrow loss of just 0.2 points, down 0.01% for the day, after reaching as high as 1,698.38 following the Fed news. That level that would have been good for an 0.8% gain instead of the mediocre underperformance we got instead. Of course, some stocks stood head and shoulders over the mediocre pack today, as might be expected here in the thick of earnings season. Let’s take a look at the best S&P stocks of today’s market now.
Cybersecurity software specialist Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) was today’s standout, closing out its trading session with a 9.6% gain, narrowly missing out on becoming the only double-digit gainer of the last day of July. Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC)’s fiscal first-quarter results showed a double beat: $1.71 billion in revenue against the $1.64 billion consensus and earnings of $0.44 per share against a consensus expectation of $0.36 in EPS. However, the company’s forward guidance looks a little soft, as Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) now projects revenue in the range of $1.65 billion to $1.69 billion, and expects EPS to end up between $0.42 and $0.44. Both projections were below Wall Street’s consensus, which was looking for $1.71 billion on the top line and $0.45 in EPS. At least Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC)’s full-year revenue guidance of $7.04 billion leads the Street’s $6.96 billion expectation.
GPS maker Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) ran up a surprising 7.6% gain to finish second in today’s S&P rage. That leaves the stock in positive territory for the first time this year, but still nearly 15% below its position of five years ago. Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) cleared a rather low bar of expectations today by posting second-quarter results of $696.6 million in revenue and $0.76 in EPS. Wall Street had expected only $665.8 million in revenue and $0.66 in EPS, both of which were well below the year-ago quarter’s result. However, guidance for the full year is unchanged, and both the revenue range of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion and the EPS range of $2.30 to $2.40 are in line with analyst projections — that is to say, a bit below 2012’s results, even on a GAAP basis. The stock is cheap-ish and its dividend is high, but growth appears to be a thing of the past.