Last Week's Biggest Stock Movers

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Plenty of stocks go up and down in any given week. The gainers inspire us to keep investing. The decliners keep 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.

ITT Educational Services (ESI) -- Up 96 percent last week

Last week's biggest winner was ITT Educational Services, nearly doubling after posting better-than-expected enrollment metrics. ITT is a leading provider of post-secondary education, and this is a niche that has been battered over the past couple of years. For-profit educators have struggled as potential students fret about incurring debt for programs that may not pay off in the long run, and regulators are trying to keep the post-secondary learning niche in check.

ITT announced that it had 57.2 million students by the end of September, 6.3 percent below where it was a year earlier. New enrollments dipped 9.5 percent to 18.4 million. The declines may not seem very encouraging, but ITT -- dogged by financial and regulatory concerns -- had warned earlier that new student enrollments could be down by as much as 15 percent.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) -- Up 24 percent last week

In a major structural move, Martha Stewart Living announced a 10-year partnership with Meredith Corporation (MDP) to outsource the sales and marketing of the home guru icon's flagship magazines. Martha Stewart Living's editorial team will continue to provide the content for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines, but having Meredith assume product, circulation and ad sales will ease the staffing and financial obligations that Martha Stewart Living has to undertake.

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) -- Up 19 percent last week

Cliffs Natural Resources may have closed out the week on a down note -- slumping 8 percent on Friday after announcing that it would write off its assets to the tune of $6 billion -- but it moved much higher earlier in the week on an analyst upgrade.

Axiom Capital boosted its rating on the iron-ore miner from sell to hold. The analyst's call is being done on a valuation basis. The stock has shed two thirds of its value this year even with last week's pop. Cliffs Natural Resources and its peers have been struggling as prices and demand for iron ore and metallurgical coal have been slumping, but at least one pro sees a buying opportunity here.

Netflix (NFLX) -- Down 21 percent last week

The leading premium video streaming service took a hit after posting a problematic quarterly report. Netflix was able to beat Wall Street's profit growth expectations, but it fell well short of its own forecast for overall subscriber growth.

Netflix closed out the third quarter with 53.06 million global streaming accounts. It had called for 53.74 million subscribers. The company blames the shortfall on new customer resistance to a recent price hike. Back in May, Netflix moved to increase the price of its streaming platform to $8.99 a month, up from the $7.99 rate that existing customers will continue to pay for two years.

Monster Worldwide (MWW) -- Down 15 percent last week

The company behind the job-seeking website tumbled after issuing more debt. Monster Worldwide is putting out $125 million in convertible senior notes due 2019. The 3.5 interest rate is reasonable, but the convertible nature of the notes means that it will be dilutive to existing stakeholders.

Urban Outfitters (URBN) -- Down 15 percent last week

The retailer behind the Urban Outfitters, Anthropoligie and Free People chains slumped after warning that comparable retail segment net sales continue to be negative. The unfavorable trend is also leading Urban Outfitters to warn that gross profit margins may take a hit.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix and Urban Outfitters. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cliffs Natural Resources and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. To read about our favorite high-yielding dividend stocks for any investor, check out our free report.
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