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Signet plunges, Tiffany jumps after earnings

Zales jewelry store
Paul Sakuma | AP

Shares of two jewelers were on the move Thursday after they reported quarterly earnings.

Signet Jewelers reported an unexpected drop in quarterly comparable sales as demand fell for its Sterling, Zales and Jared businesses, and the company cut its full-year profit forecast.

Shares of the company, which posted its first fall in quarterly total sales in more than six years, plunged 17.6 percent in early trading to $78.71. The stock later recovered some of its losses and ended the day down more than 12 percent.

Sales at Signet's stores open for more than a year fell 2.3 percent, compared with a 1 percent rise expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.14 per share, far short of the $1.45 expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.

Signet cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast by $1 to $7.25 to $7.55 per share.

The company's results come at a time when upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co reported an unexpected rise in second-quarter profit as it also saw higher tourist traffic at its U.K. stores and benefited from lower costs of gold and other precious metals.

The stock gained 6 percent on Thursday.

Total net sales, however, fell 6 percent — the seventh straight quarter of declines. Same-store sales fell 8 percent, steeper than was expected.

While precious metal prices have risen sharply this year, they fell to multi-year lows last year, and it takes jewelry companies 9-12 months to make and get products to its shelves, Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.

Tiffany's net income inched up to $105.7 million, or 84 cents per share, in the quarter ended July 31 from $104.9 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting profit of 72 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Tiffany maintained its full-year forecast of net sales falling in the low single-digits in percentage terms, and earnings per share declining in the mid-single-digit percentage range.