European stock markets closed weaker on Thursday as investors continued to monitor developments around the omicron covid variant and awaited key U.S. economic data. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down 0.1% after starting the day higher. Oil and gas stocks fell 1.1% to lead the losses, while most sectors and major bourses fell into negative territory. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved a tightening of Covid to prevent a rise in hospitalizations and deaths during the winter. The move comes as the government faces growing outrage over an alleged Christmas party in Downing Street last year that broke Covid rules.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended Thursday’s trading session lower after all three major stock indexes had rallied for three straight days. Traders took a break from the rally and turned their attention to inflation data due Friday. Several travel-related stocks that had led the market higher during the week edged lower on Thursday. The Labor Department will release its November consumer price index later in the day. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect a 6.7% year-over-year growth rate. If that’s the case, it would be the biggest increase since June 1982.
Asia-Pacific markets slipped this morning as investors assess risks surrounding the new omicron Covid variant and look ahead to key inflation data in the US. The ASX 200 fell 0.47% with the energy sub-index down 1.88% after oil prices fell overnight. Australian energy stocks slipped: Santos shares fell 2.57%, Oil Search slipped 2.42% and Woodside Petroleum fell 1.31%.
Lululemon beats estimates but shares fall after retailer cuts Mirror sales forecast
Shares of Lululemon gave back gains in extended trading Thursday after the company lowered its sales expectations for Mirror, the home fitness device it acquired last year. The sportswear maker had reported fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, prompting the company to raise its full-year outlook. Lululemon’s third-quarter net income rose to $187.8 million, or $1.44 per share, from $143.6 million, or $1.10 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.62 per share, better than expectations of $1.41. Revenue rose about 30% to $1.45 billion from $1.12 billion a year earlier. That beat expectations of $1.41 billion. The increase was driven primarily by Lululemon’s men’s business, which grew 44% year over year.
Hormel Foods CEO: Spam sales to hit record high for seventh consecutive year in 2021
Canned Spam sales continue to grow, reaching a record high for the seventh straight year in parent company Hormel Foods’ fiscal 2021, CEO Jim Snee told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday. “That’s incredible. We had to announce new capacity that we are going to bring on line in 2023 to meet demand, so Spam is as strong as it’s ever been,” Snee said. The CEO’s appearance comes after the Minnesota-based company reported its fourth-quarter and full-year results. Hormel’s quarterly revenue of $3.45 billion beat Wall Street’s forecast of $3.22 billion. Earnings per share of 51 cents beat estimates by 1 cent. For the full year, Hormel reported net sales of $11.4 billion, up 19% from fiscal 2020.