For this stock market report, the Russia-Ukraine conflict again dominated headlines the past week, which led to another gyrating week for the S&P 500 index. Software companies and chip makers were mostly in the red. Meanwhile, sectors like energy, materials and defense are seeing rises as companies in those areas are highly in demand by customers during global tensions. Cryptocurrencies saw fresh highs the past week as investors look for opportunities during volatile times. Campbell Soup Company (CPB), Rivian Automotive, Inc. (RIVN) and DocuSign, Inc. (DOCU) are among those reporting earnings this week.
- Financial technology and payments firm Block (SQ), Square has been on a tear recently. The company just reported fourth quarter earnings that saw revenue up by 29% to $4.08 billion and it’s bitcoin (BTC) business, as it sells the cryptocurrency via its Cash App, was up 12% to 1.96 billion. Company growth is expected to slow in 2022 but these are still good numbers.
- With oil hovering over $110, energy companies like Chevron (CVX) are performing really well. Chevron doesn’t have any business in Russia, and as world economies open up as pandemic restrictions ease, the company’s CFO says oil supply is lagging behind demand, causing gas prices to rise and more profits.
- Mining company Rio Tinto (RIO) which has a diversified set of minerals in its business, including gold, copper, iron ore and uranium, is one of the leaders in the materials sector this week. The company was up 7% in January and 10% in February, and March is already off to a nice start as Ukraine as a source of materials evaporates for now.
- On the subject of Ukraine, defense contractor Mercury Systems (MRCY), which provides aerospace technology, has done well. The company announced a $7.4 million jet fighter cockpit contract this week, and although its fourth quarter earnings were down, defense contractors do well during global uncertainty and investors are hitting buy on the stock.
- Electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian (RIVN) saw its shares in the red this past week as the company made a critical mistake for preorder customers. It raised the price of its powerful quad-motor models by $12,000 and applied the raise to those who had pre-ordered prior to March 1, which angered many. Competing with Tesla just isn’t that easy.
- Dutch bank ING Group (ING) has not fared well this week amid the continued conflict in Ukraine. The company has exposure to Russia, including approximately €1 billion in investments there and exposure to its currency, the ruble. As Russia’s economy craters due to economic sanctions, this does not bode well for ING.
- Although travel firm TripAdvisor (TRIP) should have a positive outlook as the world experiences a post-lockdown surge in activities, the stock was down this week. An earnings miss for the fourth quarter has the firm, which provides online booking services, plus an overall downtrend in travel stocks this week, drove shares lower.
- Software company Hashicorp (HCP), which provides tools for software developers, saw its shares in the red this past week. This may signal that the company may be overvalued despite the fact that over 80% of Fortune 500 companies have downloaded its tools. And the company’s model of providing some of these for free might need to be revised in the future.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- The materials sector has been faring well, as the Russia-Ukraine tensions likely mean higher demand and lower supply for many critically important minerals. Ukraine has plenty of iron ore, nickel and titanium as part of its natural resources. Mining and materials companies will have to come up with solutions for customers needing these, raising revenues.
- The manufacturing of various electronics may see a tiger supply chain due to Ukraine, ao many companies in this sector may begin talking about the Ukraine conflict as a reason for supply chain woes. Not to mention expected rises in prices for food: Ukraine is a big wheat and corn supplier, which will impact food production as well.
- The defense and aerospace industries continue to see a pop in stock prices amid global tensions. The most recent developments of a nuclear facility in critical condition will put more demand on these companies from various governments. The tensions between China and Taiwan also seem to be escalating, a situation to keep an eye on.
- Crypto was in the headlines this week for providing financial support to the Ukrainians.. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic estimated over $50 million in various cryptocurrencies have been donated to Ukraine. Bitcoin (BTC) hit a high of over $45,000 this past week as a result, with ether (ETH) topping over $3,000.
Companies expected to boost quarterly dividend payouts
- Foot Locker (FL) from $0.30 to $0.40
- iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Treasury ETF (IBTG) from $0.0110 to $0.0240
- iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF (IBTK) from $0.0090 to $0.0280
- Kohl’s (KSS) from $0.25 to $0.50
- Ross Stores (ROST) from $0.2850 to $0.31
- Waste Management (WM) from $0.5750 to $0.65
- Bank of Montreal (BMO) from $1.041 to $1.049
- Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) from $0.94 to $1.10
- Hess (HES) from $0.25 to $0.3750
- General Dynamics (GD) from $1.19 to $1.26
- Travel + Leisure (TNL) from $0.35 to $0.40
- Pearson (PSO) from $0.0875 to $0.1894
Earnings this week
Wednesday (3/9) – Korn Ferry (KFY), Fossil Group, Inc. (FOSL), Asana, Inc. (ASAN), CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (CRWD), Hamilton Beach Brands Holding Company (HBB), Express, Inc. (EXPR), Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (TACO),
Thursday (3/10) – The Vita Coco Company, Inc. (COCO), Duluth Holdings Inc. (DLTH), Ulta Beauty, Inc. (ULTA), Tilly’s, Inc. (TLYS), DocuSign, Inc. (DOCU), LegalZoom.com, Inc. (LZ), Rivian Automotive, Inc. (RIVN), HashiCorp, Inc. (HCP), Daktronics, Inc. (DAKT), iRobot Corporation (IRBT),
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