Nvidia (NVDA) was the big winner in the S&P 500 Thursday, after newfound hype surrounding virtual reality appears to be paying off.
Shares of the Santa Clara, Calif-based developer of 3D-graphic processors jumped nearly 9%, topping the index after unveiling a big earnings beat following Wednesday's closing bell.
Earnings per share of $0.52 beat analyst estimates by nearly 20%, while $1.4 billion in sales beat expectations by 7%, based on Bloomberg consensus data. Nvidia attributed much of the gain to increased popularity in virtual reality gaming, which was a centerpiece of this winter's Consumer Electronics Show.
"Gaming revenue rose 25% year-on-year to $810 million, with good momentum carrying forward from the previous quarter," CFO Colette Kress said on an earnings call with analysts. "Maxwell-based GeForce GTX processers continue to lead our gaming growth, combined with growing anticipation for VR and the launch of holiday blockbuster games."
The GeForce GTX 970 is "the world's most popular graphics card" that operates on the Steam gaming platform, and the company expects continued growth throughout the year, according to Kress.
"Excitement is growing around VR gaming, a key theme of last month's Consumer Electronics Show," she said. "We unveiled there our GeForce GTX VR-ready program to help gamers choose the best hardware for an immersive VR experience; and Oculus, which is now opened pre-orders for the Rift headsets, has exclusively certified GeForce GTX systems as being ready for VR."
Meanwhile, Ireland-based Perrigo's (PRGO) earnings whiff pulled it to bottom of the index, as the global health care supplier struggled to turn a profit in the fourth quarter, with earnings per share of $1.80 missing analyst expectations by nearly 7%, and sales of $1.4 billion disappointing analysts by about 2.5%, according to Bloomberg data.
"First, as you're likely aware, we did not get the benefits of a normal cough/cold/flu season in Europe," CEO Joseph Papa said on the company's earnings call Thursday. "Second, the Branded Consumer Healthcare segment continued to experience lower net sales due to channel dynamics with the generic distribution that I discussed last quarter. These dynamics accounted for approximately 25% of the Branded Consumer Healthcare's net sales miss against our expectations."
Nordstom (JWN), the Seattle-based fashion retailer, also missed Wall Street earnings estimates for its fourth-quarter, with results announced after the closing bell Thursday.
Unadjusted earnings per share of $1.00 missed Wall Street estimates by 27%, on sales of $4.2 billion, which clocked in under 1% below forecasts, based on Bloomberg data.
"We're encouraged that even through this current retail environment we continue to gain market share," President Blake Nordstrom said on the call with analysts. "What has changed is the current environment that we are facing, which requires us to pivot even more as we remain focused on improving profitability. In response, we are making adjustments to reduce expense and capital expenditures in 2016 and in the coming years."
The index as a whole fell about 0.5% on the day, as oil ticked down mildly to $30.59, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.