The 2 Stocks Everyone’s Watching Thursday Night


Stocks were generally lower on Thursday, with major market benchmarks giving up early gains. Losses for the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -0.63%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.51%), and S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.62%) were all greater than half a percent, as bond yields moved higher and readings on inflation failed to reassure investors that the future definitely looks brighter.


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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

The after-hours session was also busy on Thursday night, with a couple of key companies releasing some interesting news. Dollar General (DG -1.76%) was a late winner, as the dollar-store giant tried to reverse a huge plunge in its stock price over the past several months. Meanwhile, Smart Global Holdings (SGH -2.68%) wasn’t as fortunate. Below, you’ll learn about all the factors moving these stocks late Thursday.

Dollar General makes a leadership change

Dollar General lost 2% in the regular trading session, hitting lows not seen since 2018. However, after the closing bell, the dollar-store retailer’s stock jumped 8%. Investors were inspired that a turnaround in the beleaguered-company’s prospects could be right around the corner.

Just after the close of regular trading, Dollar General announced that its board of directors had reappointed Todd Vasos as its chief executive officer. Vasos replaced Jeff Owen, with Dollar General saying that Owen’s separation and resignation were effective Thursday. Vasos was Dollar General’s CEO from June 2015 to November 2022, and Owen led the company for less than a year.

Dollar General board chair Michael Calbert was willing to acknowledge the work that Owen had done, both as CEO and in his previous time with the company leading its retail operations. However, Calbert said that the loss of stability and confidence in the business required Dollar General to move forward and reappoint Vasos. The board has a strong belief that Vasos will be able to face the challenges in the retail industry right now and get Dollar General headed in the right direction again.

Shareholders were even willing to accept weaker guidance for fiscal 2023, with net revenue growth expected to rise just 1.5% to 2.5% and same-store sales likely to be flat to down 1%. Dollar General also guided to the lower end of its previous range for earnings, expecting between $7.10 and $7.60 per share. Yet for the share-price gains to last, Vasos will have to work quickly to improve Dollar General’s financial performance.

Smart Global disappoints investors

Moving in the other direction, Smart Global dropped another 27% in after-hours trading late Thursday. That followed a 3% decline in the regular trading session. It stemmed from quarterly financial results released after the closing bell from the maker of semiconductor solutions and LED products.

Smart Global’s results didn’t satisfy growth-oriented investors. For the fiscal year that ended Aug. 25, sales of $1.44 billion were up just 3.3% year over year.

Even though the company posted record gross margins, adjusted earnings of $2.52 per share were actually down about 5% from year-ago levels. Comparisons looking only at the fiscal fourth quarter were even worse, as sales dropped 13% and adjusted earnings fell by more than 40% from the year-earlier period.

Moreover, investors weren’t all that pleased with projections for the fiscal first quarter of 2024. Smart Global projected net sales of between $250 million and $300 million, with adjusted earnings likely to come in between $0 and $0.30 per share.

Smart Global has done well in 2023, but investors are concerned with more recent trends. Until things start to turn around for the business, Smart Global could struggle to get its stock moving upward again.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Smart Global. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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