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Stocks have enjoyed a strong run lately, and Friday brought even more enthusiasm about the prospects for Wall Street’s immediate future. As of 8:30 a.m. EDT, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) were up 77 points to 35,557, which could prompt a push into record territory. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) closed at a record high on Thursday, and futures were up 4 points to 4,546. Only the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) lagged behind, with futures falling 36 points to 15,442.
It’s easy to focus solely on the best-known megacap companies in the stock market, but doing so can cause you to miss out on some valuable insight. Further down the list of companies, raw materials provider Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF) and apparel producer VF Corp. (NYSE:VFC) both weighed in with their latest financial results, and investors gleaned some valuable information from both reports.
Cleveland-Cliffs is climbing again
Shares of Cleveland-Cliffs were up 4% in premarket trading on Friday morning. The move continued a solid performance that has carried the steel specialist to a strong comeback in the past year, and shareholders have high hopes that Cleveland-Cliffs can keep outperforming.
The company’s third-quarter financial results were strong. Revenue almost quadrupled from year-ago levels to $6 billion. Net income soared to $1.28 billion, and that produced earnings of $2.33 per share, posting a nice bounce from the year-ago period’s breakeven bottom-line results. Sales volume of steel products climbed to 4.15 million tons, up more than 3 million tons year over year.
Moreover, Cleveland-Cliffs is excited about the future. Steel prices look poised to remain strong, and the company’s move to adopt a more vertically oriented business model is paying off thus far. The pending acquisition of prime scrap metal processor Ferrous Processing and Trading aims to improve efficiency and cut carbon emissions, while Cleveland-Cliffs said it has renewed key customer supply contracts in a way that should help boost average sales prices of steel regardless of what the spot metals markets do.
That said, big rises in steel prices are a positive for Cleveland-Cliffs, and more demand appears likely to come soon. That could bring even further gains for shareholders in the steelmaker.
VF takes a hit
Elsewhere, shares of VF Corp. fell almost 7% in premarket trading. The footwear and apparel specialist’s fiscal second-quarter results didn’t give investors full confidence in VF’s ability to overcome supply chain issues in advance of the key holiday shopping season.
Financially, VF’s performance was reasonably good. Revenue from continuing operations was up 23% year over year, led by a 31% rise in the outdoor segment and the North Face brand. The active segment and work segment saw percentage gains in the high teens, although the Vans brand saw gains of only 8% compared to year-ago levels. Adjusted earnings of $1.11 per share were up 66% from the second quarter of fiscal 2021.
Yet investors focused on the challenges VF faces. CEO Steve Rendle noted that VF still is dealing with “further pandemic-related disruptions” that include new COVID-19 lockdowns in countries on which the company relies as a key part of its supply chain. Moreover, the company cited port congestion and other logistical problems that have forced it to suffer shipping delays and take extraordinary measures to minimize disruptions.
Many textile stocks have seen the same types of problems, so it isn’t surprising to see VF talk about them extensively. Nevertheless, if supply chain issues persist through the rest of the year, it could be a lot more problematic for holiday shopping, which is a key contributor to VF’s overall annual financial performance.
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