In any given week, some stocks are sure to shoot up, and others will plummet. The big gainers inspire us to keep investing. The presence of the decliners keeps our greed in check while reminding us about the risks of the equity markets.
Let’s go over some of last week’s best and worst performers.
Methode Electronics (MEI) — Up 21 percent last week
Strong quarterly results helped move Chicago’s Methode Electronics higher. The developer of custom-engineered products and solutions for the automotive, power and interface industries saw revenue and earnings climb 30 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Methode Electronics’ profit of 55 cents a share blew away the 40 cents a share that analysts were expecting. That’s a big surprise since the company had fallen short of Wall Street profit targets in the two previous quarters. Methode Electronics is also raising its guidance for the entire fiscal year.
1-800-FLOWERS (FLWS) — Up 18 percent last week
There are now more eggs in the gift basket at 1-800-FLOWERS. Shares of the floral arrangement delivery specialist moved higher after announcing that it was buying gourmet gift basket specialist Harry David in a $142.5 million deal. It’s true that 1-800-FLOWERS already offers more than just flowers. This deal will allow it to expand its reach in fruit and gourmet food gift baskets, broadening its appeal.
Mobileye (MBLY) — Up 16 percent last week
The self-driving car is getting closer to becoming a reality, and Mobileye keeps driving higher. The Israel-based company is in the pole position when it comes to camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and it made the cut in this weekly column last week with a 15 percent advance after several analysts initiated coverage on the company with bullish forecasts.
This week investors padded their gains with an even better 16 percent gain after Mobileye posted strong quarterly results. Revenue soared 91 percent during the period. A Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst talked up Mobileye on CNBC, suggesting that the stock could hit $100 if a viable competitor doesn’t emerge in the next year and change.
Exelixis (EXEL) — Down 55 percent last week
It’s feast or famine for investors in upstart biotechs riding on the success of a single drug, and that kind of speculation burned Exelixis last week. It was last week’s biggest sinker, losing more than half of its value after a late-stage clinical trial for its potential prostate cancer drug failed to show an improvement in patient survival rate.
If Exelixis shares look bad, the company itself looks worse. The bad news will result in Exelixis eliminating more than two-thirds of its employees.
Conn’s (CONN) — Down 35 percent last week
Consumer electronics retailers continue to get pummeled in 2014 after being one of the hottest sectors of 2013. Conn’s shed more than a third of its value after deadbeat shoppers forced it to hose down its guidance.
Conn’s may have held up fine on the surface in its latest quarter. Sales soared 30 percent in its latest quarter with comparable-store sales moving 11.7 percent higher. However, it posted a loss in its credit segment, with 8.7 percent of its customer credit portfolio now delinquent for more than 60 days. Adjusted earnings clocked in at 50 cents a share as a result of having to boost its provision for bad debts. Analysts were holding out for a profit of 75 cents a share. Conn’s also had to lower its guidance for the entire fiscal year, and it did by a lot more than the quarter’s shortfall. In other words, the second half of the year will continue to be challenging on the collections front.
Noodles Co. (NDLS) — Down 11 percent last week
We saw the rich getting richer with Mobileye posting back-to-back weeks of double-digit percentage gains. We saw how the other half lives at Noodles Co. as the fast-casual pasta chain completed back-to-back weeks of double-digit declines. Noodles Co. finally fell below last year’s $18 IPO price.
There was no major news driving Noodles Co. lower this past week, but clearly investors continue to sell, since Jim Cramer singled out the restaurant operator as one of five eatery stocks for investors to avoid a week earlier on his “Mad Money” show.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Exelixis. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. For some winning dividend stock ideas, check out our free report.