Tag Archives: Company News

J.C. Penney: CIT Cash Advances Still Flowing to Suppliers

By The Associated Press

SAN BRUNO, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  A customer leaves a JCPenney store on February 28, 2013 in San Bruno, California.  J.C. Penney Co. reported a 31.7 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings with a net loss of $552 million, or $2.51 per share compared with a loss of $87 million, or $0.41 one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

PLANO, Texas — J.C. Penney says that CIT, the largest lender in the clothing industry, is still supporting deliveries from its suppliers. The department store operator also says it has ample liquidity to run its business.

Shares rose more than 7 percent in premarket trading Thursday.

On Wednesday, a New York Post report said that CIT Group Inc. (CIT) had stopped providing financial support to small and large suppliers selling to J.C. Penney stores — for now. The report said CIT made the decision after meeting with J.C. Penney officials to examine the company’s books.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) said Thursday that CIT assured it that the newspaper report is untrue.

CIT is what the industry calls a “factor,” which makes cash advances to suppliers based on the goods they sell to the merchant. If vendors and factors become wary of a store’s creditworthiness, the retailer may have to pay suppliers cash upfront for goods, which could be a huge drain on liquidity. If suppliers stop shipping goods, it can be a death knell for a retailer.

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney said that merchandise from CIT-supported suppliers currently makes up less than 4 percent of its overall inventory for the year.

J.C. Penney said that it still has the support of all of its key vendors, which are continuing shipments to the company. The retailer, which has 1,100 stores, anticipates closing the second quarter with about $1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

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Shares climbed $1.09, or 7.5 percent, to $15.69 in premarket trading about two hours before the market open Thursday.

J.C. Penney is trying to reverse its fortunes after disastrous results under a failed transformation plan implemented by its former CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson was ousted in April after 17 months on the job. The board brought back former CEO Mike Ullman, who has reintroduced frequent sales and is bringing back key merchandise under store names like St. John’s Bay.

Analyst Deborah Weinswig of Citi Investment Research says J.C. Penney won’t see a recovery in its business until 2014. The analyst said in a client note that she’s been surprised that “quick fixes,” like bringing back coupons, hasn’t led to stronger sales and doesn’t think this will change in the near term. The analyst lowered the chain’s rating to “Sell” from “Neutral” and cut its price target to $11 from $20.

J.C. Penney doesn’t comment on analyst reports.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

H&M Finally Begins Online Sales in the U.S.

By Reuters

H&M website clothing ecommerce internet etailing retailer

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By Anna Ringstrom

STOCKHOLM — Budget fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz launched an e-commerce operation in the U.S. on Thursday, taking on rivals in the world’s biggest online market.

The initiative is highly anticipated and follows successive delays. But retail experts say H&M may struggle to make the kind of profits from U.S. e-commerce enjoyed by pricier rivals.

H&M has prospered in the United States without a big online presence and is mindful of the likely impact on profit margins of the high shipping and return costs associated with such a vast country.

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However, with more and more shoppers buying clothes from home, the Swedish firm is speeding up its online roll-out to capture a slice of the growing market.

H&M has grown fast in recent years in the U.S., its second-biggest market, but has twice pulled back from announced dates for the online launch, blaming unexpected complexities in setting up an operation well-integrated with its stores.

Meanwhile, its main rival Inditex and others such as online e-store ASOS have expanded in the market, while Amazon (AMZN) is pushing further into apparel after eBay (EBAY) prospered with its fashion offering.

“You don’t want to lose out on being the port of call for younger shoppers. So H&M should really get in there,” Planet Retail consultant Isabel Cavill said.

Apparel has become one of the fastest-growing online retail segments. H&M has e-stores in eight European countries and says they are now as profitable as its bricks-and-mortar shops.

In North America, a quarter of clothing sales will take place on the Internet in 2030, up from 7 percent in 2011, Goldman Sachs (GS) predicts. Researcher Euromonitor International sees the U.S. online apparel market more than doubling in a decade to $41 billion in 2017.

“Generations of shoppers are growing up for whom the multi-channel is a basic expectation,” said Kantar Retail consultant Bryan Roberts.

Mind the Returns

H&M has been struggling to work out a viable logistics model in the country, where many shoppers expect free deliveries.

“H&M is low-price, quite low-margin and makes it work by selling very high volumes. An issue with that is very high costs for shipping and, most significantly, returns. It’s a particular problem in the U.S.,” Conlumino consultant Neil Saunders said.

Up to half of fashion items sold online are returned. At H&M, a shopper may well buy up to three times as many items than at Zara or ASOS. Analysts place average prices at Zara at least 40 percent above H&M’s, with ASOS in between.

H&M’s U.S. online store offers free shipping but charges for returns. Items bought online cannot be returned in stores.

“I’m particularly surprised by the lack of multichannel. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Court Ruling Could Delay Fiat's Buyout of Chrysler

By Reuters

fiat chrysler buyout assembly line court ruling autoworkers health care trust

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AP

MILAN — A ruling by a U.S. judge risks delaying Fiat’s plan to buy up all of Chrysler unless it can reach an out-of-court settlement with a healthcare trust that is a minority shareholder in the U.S. group.

The Italian carmaker said Wednesday it “looked forward” to solving a dispute with an autoworkers’ health-care trust in court after winning a partial victory Tuesday in its path to buy the 41.5 percent of Chrysler it doesn’t already own.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons on Tuesday accepted the carmaker’s legal positions in two pivotal disputes in its legal battle with VEBA, the United Autoworkers-affiliated health-care trust that owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler.

However, the judge stopped short of ordering VEBA to sell 54,154 Chrysler shares to Fiat for $139.7 million, as the latter had sought, saying certain questions still needed to be answered through testimony at a trial.

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“Fiat looks forward to resolving the few remaining issues in the litigation, through the discovery requested by the judge, and remains confident that those residual issues will also be resolved in its favor,” Fiat said in a statement Wednesday.

A trial is likely to take between a year and 18 months, said a person familiar with the matter. However, another person said the lengthy process makes it more likely that Fiat and VEBA will reach an out of court settlement on the dispute.

“We view the ruling as positive for Fiat and likely to help an out-of-court agreement,” said UBS analyst Philippo Houchois in a research note. “We still view end 2013 as a likely deadline for an agreement as VEBA.”

Fiat’s lawyers will now be forced to argue in court with representatives of the health-care trust about why Fiat should pay less than the trust is asking in a deal the latter needs to pay future benefits for retired Chrysler workers.

The UAW became Chrysler’s second-largest shareholder when Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 and the union swapped future health-care payments owed to it for a stake in the company. VEBA is a trust that manages those health-care benefits on behalf of the union.

Fiat already runs the two automakers as a single company, but wants to buy the rest of Chrysler to squeeze out more synergies, cut borrowing costs and access some of Chrysler’s cash flow.

Fiat shares were volatile in early trade, falling 0.8 percent to €5.98 at 0850 GMT (4:50 a.m. Eastern time).

“The ruling is a step forward and is good news,” said a Milan trader. “But it’s not decisive and the market is not discounting it as a done deal yet.”


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Chrysler 2Q Profit, Sales Rise, but Cuts Full-Year Forecasts

By The Associated Press

fiat ceo sergio marchionne chrysler earnings automotive industry manufacturing

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Paul Sancya/APFiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

By DEE-ANN DURBIN

DETROIT — Chrysler Group’s sales picked up in the second quarter thanks to strong U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs, but the company still cut its full-year sales and profit targets after a slower than expected start to the year.

Chrysler said Tuesday that its net income rose 16 percent to $507 million in the April-June period from $436 million a year ago. It was Chrysler’s eighth straight quarterly profit.

Chrysler sold 643,000 vehicles worldwide in the second quarter, up 10 percent from a year ago. Sales were also up 10 percent in the U.S., where Chrysler sells 75 percent of its vehicles. Chrysler’s U.S. sales rose faster than the industry average of 8 percent in the second quarter.

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Revenue was up 7 percent to $18 billion from $16.8 billion.

Chrysler said it now expects to ship 2.6 million vehicles worldwide in 2013, at the low end of its target of between 2.6 million and 2.7 million. It expects to earn between $1.7 billion and $2.2 billion, down from its previous target of around $2.2 billion.

Chrysler’s first-quarter figures suffered because it was slow to release new versions of the Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, two of its most popular vehicles. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne described the first quarter as a one-off event and urged workers to “just close your eyes and plug your nose and move on from here.”

Chrysler’s production issues were resolved and there were plenty of vehicles on the ground in the second quarter. U.S. Ram sales rose 30.4 percent over last year as construction companies and other small businesses raced to replace aging trucks. It was the Ram’s best second quarter since 2007.

Grand Cherokee sales soared 27 percent to 47,663. The Grand Cherokee is one of Chrysler’s biggest money makers. U.S. buyers paid an average of $40,294 for a Grand Cherokee in the second quarter, up 9 percent from a year ago, according to car pricing site Kelley Blue Book.

U.S. sales were up for the company’s Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram brands; only the Chrysler brand, with aging vehicles like the Town and Country minivan, saw sales drop.

In the second half of this year, Chrysler should get a boost from the release of the new Jeep Cherokee, which started rolling off the line in Toledo, Ohio, last month. The Cherokee replaces the Jeep Liberty, which was phased out last year.

“Chrysler Group is poised for a very strong performance in the second half of the year,” Marchionne said Tuesday in a statement.

Chrysler is majority owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, which is scheduled to release its second-quarter results later Tuesday.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Pfizer to Internally Split Generic, Branded Drugs Operations

By Reuters

Pfizer to internally split generic, branded drug operations

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Elise Amendola/AP

July 29 – Pfizer Inc (PFE) on Monday said it plans to internally separate its commercial operations into three business segments, including a unit that sells patent-protected branded drugs and one that sells generic medicines.

The largest U.S. drugmaker said it will implement the changes in January in countries that do not require a consultation with labor unions.

Pfizer earlier this year said it would begin separately examining the finances and marketing of its patent-protected drug business, which it calls its “innovative” business, and its generic business as a possible prelude to selling off the generic business in coming years.

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GE Posts Small Gain in 2Q Profit, Sees Pickup in U.S. Ops

By The Associated Press

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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt

By JONATHAN FAHEY

NEW YORK — General Electric posted a slight gain in net income in the second quarter and said its U.S. operations are picking up steam.

General Electric Co. (GE) said Friday that it earned $3.13 billion, up from $3.11 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the company earned 30 cents, up from 29 cents. Revenue fell 4 percent, to $35.12 billion from $36.5 billion.

Adjusted to reflect earnings from continuing operations, GE earned 36 cents a share. That’s 2 cents less than adjusted earnings last year, but one cent better than analysts polled by FactSet had expected. GE shares rose 61 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $24.24 in trading before the market opened.

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GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., has a broad view of the global economy because it sells a wide variety of industrial equipment and appliances around the world, including jet engines, medical diagnostic equipment, locomotives, washing machines, natural gas-fired turbines, and oil and gas drilling equipment.

CEO Jeff Immelt said orders in the U.S. showed “strong growth,” an improvement from recent quarters when he expressed caution about the U.S. market. Immelt said emerging markets remained strong and that Europe has stabilized, but remained weak.

The company’s orders for new business rose $7 billion last quarter to a record $223 billion. Immelt said he expects profits to grow in the second half of the year.

GE is in the midst of transforming itself in to a company more focused on industrial businesses. It’s been shedding media and other non-industrial divisions and shrinking its banking division. Infrastructure orders rose 4 percent and profit margins for industrial segments rose 0.5 percent. GE Capital earnings fell 9 percent.


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Can Monopoly Save McDonald's This Summer?

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

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Monopoly is back at McDonald’s (MCD). The annual marketing promotion — in which patrons peel off pieces to win instant food prizes or collect subsets of properties for even bigger prizes — kicks off on Tuesday.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for the fast food giant.

After a decade of steady same-store sales growth, the world’s largest restaurant chain surprised investors late last year with its first monthly decline since 2003. There have been a couple of other negative months since last October’s dip: Global comps declined in January, February, and April of this year.

Many analysts suggest that sales have been soft because McDonald’s is losing sight of the value message that helped propel the chain to the top. McDonald’s has responded by reemphasizing its signature Dollar Menu and rolling out more low-priced promotions.

When that’s not enough, giving away free food usually seems to do the trick.

Summers Are Slipping Away

If you don’t recall last summer’s Monopoly promotion it’s because it didn’t happen. Well, it didn’t happen during the summer anyway.

McDonald’s kicked off 2012 its game on Sep. 25. It wasn’t enough to spare the burger flipper from experiencing a weak October, but advancing the game to mid-July this time around would seem to indicate that there’s a desperate tone to drumming up traffic during the seasonal summer lull.

The 2011 contest also kicked off in late September.

Shifting the game’s launch should help increase store traffic during the four weeks that it’s attaching game pieces to certain menu items. It will be hard to tell if the likely increases in late July and early August will be the result of new initiatives or attributable to the promotion. And if sales are soft again this October, McDonald’s will have a scapegoat — not having the Monopoly promotion around to help beef up sales.

Bringing Order to Franchisees

McDonald’s could use the promotional boost.

Analysts see revenue climbing a mere 3 percent this year. Earnings growth should be stronger, but this is also the same company that has missed Wall Street’s profit targets in three of its past four quarters.

For years, McDonald’s figured that expanding its menu with more healthy and exotic items would help breathe new life into the chain. That hasn’t been working, so the chain is asking franchisees to update their stores to include a new dual-point ordering system that should speed up the delivery of orders and also help crack down on the growing number of incorrect orders.

The new system — with a dedicated runner checking and handing over food — will also ideally tackle growing complaints of unfriendly employees at the chain.

However, it’s not really about McDonald’s nabbing a “get out of jail free” card here. The softness …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Bayer to Buy Calif. Birth-Control Device Maker for $1B

By Reuters

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By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT — Germany’s Bayer has agreed to buy U.S. contraceptive devices maker Conceptus for $1.1 billion, aiming to underpin its position as the world’s largest women’s health-care provider.

Bayer AG will launch a public tender offer to acquire all Conceptus Inc. (CPTS) shares for $31 each in cash, in an offer agreed with Conceptus’s management, Bayer said Monday.

That is a premium of 19.7 percent over the stock‘s closing price on Friday and a multiple of about 30 times the adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization that Conceptus is targeting for this year.

Shares in global health-care equipment and services companies on average trade at 9 times annual EBITDA, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Bayer’s women’s health-care business had sales of €3.15 billion ($4.1 billion) last year, from products including its Yasmin contraceptive pill and Mirena intrauterine device.

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“Our experience in the field of gynecology combined with our sales and distribution expertise will help to further develop Conceptus’ business,” said Andreas Fibig, head of Bayer unit HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

Conceptus, which makes inserts that are placed into the fallopian tubes as a permanent non-hormonal contraceptive, had $28.2 million in adjusted EBITDA last year on sales of $141 million.

The U.S. company has forecast 2013 adjusted EBITDA of between $34 million and $37 million on sales of between $155 million and $159 million.

Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers took the post in 2010 with a reputation for being able to handle transformational takeovers, but the Conceptus deal, expected to close by mid-year, is the latest in a line of small and medium-sized buys.

Last September Bayer agreed to buy Teva’s U.S. animal health operations for up to $145 million, following the purchase of AgraQuest, a developer of bacteria to fight plant disease, for at least $425 million.


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Caterpillar Forecasts Smaller Profits on Mining Slowdown

By Reuters

Mary Nichols CARB

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Yves Logghe/AP

CHICAGO — Caterpillar cut its full-year outlook for 2013 on Monday to reflect a drop in demand for heavy equipment from its mining customers.

The Peoria, Illinois-based company said it now expects to report a profit of $7 a share on sales of $57 billion to $61 billion in 2013. That was down from a previously estimated profit of between $7 and $9 a share on sales of $60 billion to $68 billion.

“Mining is the big culprit,” said Eli Lustrgarten, a research analyst at Longbow Research. “The key question now is not 2013, but 2014 — will it be up or down?”

The news came as the company, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, reported a weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit.

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Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) said it earned a profit of $880 million, or $1.31 a share, down from $1.586 billion, or $2.37 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts had expected the company to report a profit of $1.40 a share.

Sales during the period fell 17 percent to $13.20 billion.

Caterpillar, which announced earlier this month that it was laying off 460 workers, or about 11 percent of its workforce at an Illinois plant that makes mining equipment, said it had 11,000 fewer people working for it at the end of the first quarter of 2013 than in the year-ago period.


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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/22/caterpillar-forecasts-smaller-profit-earnings/

Halliburton Posts Q1 Loss Related to Gulf Oil Spill

By The Associated Press

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HOUSTON — Halliburton says it lost $18 million in the first quarter on litigation-related charges related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. But it made money if the unusual items are excluded, and beat Wall Street expectations.

The oil services company’s loss attributable to common shareholders amounted to 2 cents a share. That compares with net income of $627 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, however, Halliburton Co. (HAL) posted adjusted earnings of 67 cents a share. That beat the 57 cents that analysts expected.

Revenue rose slightly to $6.97 billion. Analysts expected $6.88 billion.

The Houston company, which provides a variety of services for the petroleum industry, is benefiting from a boom in U.S. oil production, which is at the highest level in more than two decades. At the same time, its natural gas business has slowed.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/22/halliburton-earnings-gulf-oil-spill/

Kimberly-Clark Posts Higher Profit on Strong Int'l Growth

By Reuters

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Jeff Chiu/AP

Kimberly-Clark posted a bigger-than-expected jump in first-quarter earnings and raised its forecast for the year Friday as the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers saw strong growth in its international markets and cut costs.

The company, which competes against larger rival Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) in categories such as diapers and paper products, said it cut $85 million in costs during the quarter.

Shares of the company rose 2.6 percent to $104 in trading before the market opened.

Excluding items such as restructuring costs, Kimberly-Clark earned $1.48 a share, well ahead of an average forecast by analysts of $1.34, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income rose to $531 million, or $1.36 a share, from $468 million, or $1.18 a share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 1.5 percent to $5.32 billion, topping analysts’ forecast of $5.28 billion.

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In personal care, the company’s largest segment with products such as Huggies diapers, North American sales were flat as a 1 percent price increase offset lower sales volumes. Sales of these products rose 4 percent in international markets, helped by a 2 percent price increase and growth in countries such as China, Russia and South Korea.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) said it expected to post 2013 earnings a share of $5.60 to $5.75, excluding items, versus its prior target of $5.50 to $5.65. The analysts’ average forecast is $5.59.

While the company has been cutting some expenses, materials and distribution costs rose in the quarter. Input costs were up $35 million from a year earlier, with increases of $15 million for fiber, $10 million for other raw materials and $10 million for distribution, it said.


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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/19/kimberly-clark-earnings/

Boeing's Dreamliner Could Resume Flights Next Month

By The Associated Press

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Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com/AP

WASHINGTON — Published reports say Boeing’s grounded 787 jetliners could soon be flying again.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Aviation Administration is set to approve Boeing’s fix for the ion-lithium batteries. The 787 Dreamliner has been grounded since mid-January because of smoldering batteries that in one case caused a serious fire.

The Journal says the FAA is expected to announce Friday that Boeing’s redesigned batteries are safe. The fix includes more heat insulation and a battery box designed to vent any hot gases from the batteries outside the planes.

There was no immediate comment from the FAA and a Boeing Co. (BA) spokesman declined to comment on the report.

The New York Times, which also reported the development, says the aircraft could be back in service next month.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/19/boeing-787-dreamliner-resume-flights-may/

Verizon Rakes in Wireless Fees in Latest Quarter

By The Associated Press

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By PETER SVENSSON

NEW YORK — Verizon says its profit rose 16 percent in the latest quarter as revenue from wireless service kept rising at a rate that’s the envy of the industry.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) reported net income of $1.95 billion, or 68 cents a share, in the January to March period. That was up from $1.69 billion, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet had on average expected earnings of 66 cents a share for the latest quarter.

First-quarter revenue was $29.4 billion, just short of the average analyst estimate at $29.5 billion.

Wireless service revenues rose 8.6 percent to $16.7 billion, accounting for more than half of overall revenue. At closest rival AT&T Inc. (T), wireless service revenue has been rising just over 4 percent a year.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/verizon-earnings/

PepsiCo Quarterly Earnings Fall Even as Revenue Rises

By The Associated Press

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Chris Rank/Bloomberg via Getty Images

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo’s first-quarter profit fell 5 percent, but higher prices lifted the soda and snack maker’s sales.

Adjusted profit topped Wall Street‘s view and the maker of Frito-Lay, Gatorade and other products stood by its full-year earnings forecast, following a year in which it cut costs and invested more heavily in marketing for its biggest brands.

For the period ended March 23, PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents a share. That’s down from $1.13 billion, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding the impact of Venezuela‘s currency devaluation and other items, per-share earnings rose 12 percent to 77 cents. Analysts expected 70 cents, according to FactSet.

Revenue for the Purchase, N.Y., company rose 1 percent to $12.58 billion, beating analyst expectations of $12.54 billion.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/pepsico-earnings-fall/

American Express Profit Boosted by Higher Cardmember Spending

By Reuters

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Credit card company American Express Co.’s quarterly revenue came in below analyst expectations as cardmember spending growth remained muted.

Cardmember spending in the first quarter increased 7 percent, adjusted for foreign currency translations. This was the fourth successive quarter of single-digit growth after nine quarters of double-digit growth.

Expense accounts have come under greater scrutiny as companies look to cut costs to protect profit margins, hurting the credit card lender, which gets more than a quarter of its U.S. billed business from affluent corporate customers.

However, American Express‘s billed business was up 6 percent at $224.5 billion and total cards in force crossed 100 million during the quarter.

The company has the lowest delinquency rate among the large credit card companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Discover Financial Services, Capital One Financial Corp. (COF), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C).

It set aside $497 million to cover future bad loans in the quarter, 21 percent more than it had provisioned last year, reflecting its larger lending portfolio.

American Express Co. (AXP), which lends directly to consumers and also competes with Visa Inc. (V) and MasterCard Inc. (MA) to process credit card transactions, said global network and merchant services revenue increased 4 percent to $1.3 billion.

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Consolidated expenses during the quarter remained in check, rising marginally, as the company looks to control costs and maintain a leaner operating structure.

The company said in January it would cut about 5,400 jobs as part of a global restructuring and took a related $600 million charge.

Profit for the quarter ended March 31 rose to $1.28 billion, or $1.15 a share, from $1.26 billion, or $1.07 a share, a year earlier.

Total revenue, net of interest expense, increased 4 percent to $7.88 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.12 a share on revenue of $8.03 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

American Express shares were marginally down in trading after the bell. They closed Wednesday at $64.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/american-express-earnings/

Tesco Prepares to Exit U.S. With Sale of Fresh &amp; Easy

By Reuters

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By James Davey and Kate Holton

Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco, wrote down the value of its global operations by $3.5 billion and announced plans to exit the United States, as it sought to rebuild after a year in which profit fell for the first time in two decades.

The group, the world’s third largest retailer after Walmart and Carrefour, said on Wednesday abandoning loss-making Fresh & Easy in the U.S. would mean restructuring and other one-off costs of 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion).

Tesco also wrote down the value of its property in Britain by 804 million pounds, reflecting a decision not to develop more than 100 sites, and its businesses in Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey by 495 million pounds, to account for a sharp slowdown in demand.

Though Chief Executive Philip Clarke hailed Tesco’s fourth quarter performance in its home market as its best quarterly outcome in three years, it still represented a slowdown in growth since Christmas, despite a year of huge investment.

“I’ve been working for Tesco for nearly 40 years and I can tell you this – it already looks, feels and acts like a different and a better business,” Clarke told reporters.

“We’ve closed the gap in the [U.K.] market, at times we’ve outperformed it,” he said.

Shares in Tesco, up 24 percent over the last three months, were down 3 percent at 1004 GMT, valuing the business at 30 billion pounds.

“Management cannot claim concrete evidence of a U.K. recovery with these numbers,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan.

“It will take time — retail is detail — but we believe that Tesco is on track and we expect recovery in the U.K. to slowly emerge in FY2014,” he said, adding that Tesco could commence share buybacks in 2015.

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Tesco made a statutory pretax profit of 1.96 billion pounds in the year to Feb. 13, down 51.5 percent. It also reported an expected 14.5 percent fall in underlying full-year profit to 3.55 billion pounds, largely reflecting the cost of a 1 billion pounds turnaround plan for its home market, launched after a shock profit warning in January last year.

Earnings were also hit by the impact of the euro zone debt crisis on eastern European markets, restrictions on store opening times in South Korea, and the Fresh & Easy losses.

Fourth quarter sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, grew 0.5 percent. Though at the top end of analysts’ forecasts it was worse than growth of 1.8 percent recorded in the six weeks to Jan. 5.

Tesco’s fightback plan for Britain, where it makes over 60 percent of revenue and profit, has focused on more staff, refurbished stores, revamped food ranges and price initiatives

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/17/tesco-exits-united-states/

Abbott Labs Posts Strong First-Quarter Growth

By Reuters

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Abbott Laboratories reported higher earnings from continuing operations, as demand for its nutritional and diagnostic products offset declining sales of the company’s medical devices.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. (ABT), which split off its branded drugs business at the beginning of the year into a new company called AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), on Wednesday reported a first-quarter profit of $544 million, or 34 cents a share, from continuing operations.

That compared with year-earlier earnings from continuing operations of $351 million, or 22 cents a share.

Excluding special items, the suburban Chicago company earned 42 cents a share. Analysts, on average, had expected 41 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 1.8 percent to $5.38 billion, slightly below Wall Street expectations of $5.41 billion.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/17/abbott-labs-earnings/

U.S. Bancorp's Q1 Earnings Miss Wall Street Forecasts

By The Associated Press

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Richard Drew/AP

MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Bancorp’s first-quarter net income rose 7 percent as lower costs offset falling revenue, which was shy of most Wall Street predictions.

Shares slipped in premarket trading Tuesday.

The Minneapolis bank earned $1.43 billion, or 73 cents a share, up from $1.34 billion, or 67 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

The bank attributed growth to a 4 percent decrease in noninterest expense to $2.47 billion and a 16 percent reduction in its provision for credit losses — or the amount of money set aside to cover soured loans — to $403 million.

Net interest income edged up less than 1 percent to $2.71 billion. Net interest income combines interest on loans that the bank collects and interest on deposits and debt that the bank pays out. It is a measure of the bank’s ability to profit from its lending.

The company’s average total loans rose 6 percent to $12.3 billion on higher demand for both residential mortgages and commercial loans, while average deposits increased 7 percent.

But noninterest income, which includes revenue from fees and other sources, fell 3 percent to $2.17 billion.

Total revenue fell 1 percent to $4.87 billion from $4.93 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected $5.02 billion.

U.S. Bancorp (USB) shares fell 11 cents to $33.20 in premarket trading.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/16/us-bancorp-earnings-wall-street/

Coca-Cola Per-Share Earnings Fall 13% in the First Quarter

By The Associated Press

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Justin Sullivan/AP

Coca-Cola Co.’s first-quarter results came in above expectations as the world’s biggest beverage maker saw global sales volume grow.

The Atlanta-based company said it earned $1.75 billion, or 39 cents a share, for the period ended March 29. That’s down from $2.1 billion, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier.

Not including one-time items such as restructuring charges, however, Coca-Cola said it earned 46 cents a share, better than the 45 cents a share analysts expected.

Net revenue declined to $11.04 billion, from $11.14 billion a year ago, hurt by foreign currency exchange rates and two fewer selling days in the period. Analysts expected $10.97 billion.

Coca-Cola Co. (KO) also announced it was starting to refranchise its U.S. business by giving bottlers expanded territories.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/16/coca-cola-first-quarter-earnings/