Stocks Gain But Align, Mellanox Slide After Hours

By VINCENT MAO, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Stocks wavered, but ultimately finished higher Wednesday amid upbeat housing data and mixed earnings reports.

But earnings reports after the close sent shares of some key companies lower.

Housing starts and building permits came in well above expectations, signs that the recovery in the housing market is gaining steam.

Homebuilder MDC Holdings (MDC) rallied 3% despite being cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James. The stock has been consolidating gains since late September. MDC is forming a potential flat base. The company will report Q3 earnings Oct. 30. KB Home (KBH) and Beazer Homes (BZH) were also strong movers.

But weak outlooks from IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC) weighed on techs.

The S&P 500 extended its win streak to three sessions, rising 0.4%. The Nasdaq, also up three days in a row, edged up 0.1%. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out a fractional gain. Volume rose across the board, according to preliminary data.

After the close Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) slumped, despite reporting Q3 earnings and sales that topped expectations. Profit leapt 342% to $1.37 a share, on sales that grew 129% to $156.5 million. Analysts had expected $1.13 a share on revenue of $153.07 million.

EBay (EBAY) delivered third-quarter earnings that beat views by a penny. But sales of $3.4 billion were a touch below views of $3.41 billion. It fell 1% in after-hours trade.

Align Technology (ALGN) sold off after delivering preliminary Q3 earnings and sales that missed expectations. The company earned 28 cents a share on sales of $136.5 million. Align said that the figures are preliminary due to a possible goodwill impairment charge. Views were for earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $140.1 million.

In the regular session, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) climbed 4% to an all-time high in heavy trading. It’s now 16% past a 142.06 buy point from a cup-with-handle base. The biotech will report Q3 earnings Oct. 24. Analysts are expecting a profit of 95 cents a share vs. a year-ago loss of 68 cents a share.

On the downside, Sourcefire (FIRE) took its biggest beating in more than two months on news after fellow security software firms Fortinet (FTNT) and Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP) reported lackluster results and gave lackluster outlooks. The stock gapped below its 200-day line and tumbled 12% in hefty trade. Sourcefire will report its own quarterly results Oct. 30 after the market’s close.

Google (GOOG), Polaris Industries (PII), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are among some notable firms reporting earnings Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, the Philly Fed index and leading economic indicators will also be out Thursday.

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