Equities moved nicely higher this morning, proceeded to surrender all of their early gains, but have edged back up. At just about noon in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead 32 points; the S&P 500 Index is up three points, and the NASDAQ is higher by five points. Market breadth is still favorable, as advancers are outnumbering decliners on the NYSE.
Tiffany (TIF) shares have lost a fair amount of luster in 2015, declining more than 25% in value year to date. The strong U.S. dollar has been the main culprit, as it has reduced spending by foreign tourists, particularly at the company’s New York City flagship store (approximately 8% of the top line). Indeed, the currency pressures have hurt same-store sales in the core domestic market, and offset benefits from price increases and a favorable commodity input environment.
Anyone who buys gasoline knows what has happened to oil prices since mid-2014. The steep price decline since then has been good for drivers, but not for oil giants (and Dow-30 components) Exxon Mobil and Chevron. In addition to oil, these companies produce natural gas, which has also seen weak quotations in recent months. Understandably, the two companies have been hurt, and earnings are down due mainly to lower commodity prices and unfavorable swings in foreign currency exchange rates. How have the oil giants reacted to the decline in commodity prices?