P&G forecasts profit below Street, shares drop

CINCINNATI, Wed Apr 24, 2013 — Procter & Gamble Co. on Wednesday forecast current-quarter profit below Wall Street expectations and year-ago levels, sending shares 3.5 percent lower in early trading.

The world’s largest household products maker also posted fiscal third-quarter profit that topped estimates despite sales that were weaker than both the company and analysts had anticipated.

P&G has been trying to reinvigorate itself under Chief Executive Bob McDonald. The company has held or gained market share in more of its businesses in the latest quarters after stiffer competition from rivals like Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Co.

While products such as Tide Pods have boosted U.S. sales, P&G still needs to figure out the formula for getting products such as Pantene shampoo to stand out among competitors, it said. P&G plans to promote several brands during the current quarter, including Olay skin care products.

Net sales decreased in the hair care and skin care business in the latest quarter.

“We’ve got a little bit more work to do” in skin care, McDonald told reporters.

In February 2012, McDonald unveiled a $10 billion restructuring plan including thousands of job cuts after P&G acknowledged it was not nimble enough, especially in emerging markets.

Shares of P&G fell to $79.65 in premarket trading after closing at an all-time high of $82.54 on Tuesday

Staples sales miss Street as Europe, North America pinch

BOSTON, Wed Mar 6, 2013 — Staples Inc., the largest U.S. office supply chain, reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and forecast weak full-year earnings as corporate customers and other shoppers in Europe and North America reduced discretionary spending.

Many investors look at office-supply retailers as a barometer of economic health because demand for their products is closely tied to white-collar employment rates.

As customers increasingly buy office supplies online or at mass merchants, these chains are fighting a battle for relevance. Analysts have called for consolidation as sales crumbled after the recent U.S. recession.

Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax Inc. last month decided to combine in a $976 million all-stock deal. The deal is subject to investor and regulatory approval.

Comparable-store sales at Staples’ North American stores fell 5 percent in the fourth quarter, while in Europe it decreased 9 percent, mainly due to fewer customers visiting its stores, the company said.

Staples outlined a plan last year to cut costs by closing stores, but that blueprint did not pass muster with some on Wall Street who were looking for deeper cuts in North America and Europe.

Overall, sales rose 3 percent to $6.56 billion, but missed Wall Street’s average expectation of $6.72 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

3M cuts profit outlook on currency concerns, deal costs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Tue Oct 23, 2012 – Diversified U.S. manufacturer 3M Co. on Tuesday reported a 6.7 percent rise in third-quarter profit but cut its profit forecast for the full year as acquisition costs and a strengthening dollar hurt margins.

The maker of products ranging from Post-It notes to films used in consumer electronics said net income was $1.16 billion, or $1.65 per share, compared with $1.09 billion, or $1.52 per share, a year earlier.

Profit met Wall Street forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

3M now expects to earn $6.27 to $6.35 per share for all of 2012, below its prior forecast of $6.35 to $6.50. Analysts had expected $6.40.

Third-quarter revenue was little changed at $7.5 billion, shy of the $7.63 billion analysts had anticipated.

U.S. commercial paper market shrinks for fourth straight week

NEW YORK, Thu Sep 27, 2012 – The amount of seasonally adjusted U.S. commercial paper contracted for a fourth consecutive week in the week ended September 26, Federal Reserve data showed on Thursday.

U.S. seasonally adjusted commercial paper outstanding fell $18.1 billion to $990.1 billion in the latest week.

Non-seasonally adjusted commercial paper outstanding – which some analysts consider is a more reliable reading than the seasonally adjusted one since it has been distorted by the financial crisis – declined $14.8 billion to $970.2 billion.

U.S. non-seasonally adjusted foreign bank commercial paper outstanding, however, rose $4.9 billion to $129.8 billion.

P&G CEO’s pay down 6.1 percent after tough year

CINCINNATI, Fri Aug 24, 2012 – Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman and CEO Bob McDonald took home a little less last year after disappointing results that he is trying to reverse with a major overhaul.

McDonald, the leader of the world’s largest household products company since 2009, earned nearly $15.2 million in the year ended in June, down 6.1 percent from $16.19 million in fiscal 2011, according to a filing P&G made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

P&G, whose brands include Pampers, Gillette and Tide, is in the midst of a $10 billion restructuring. On top of that, activist investor William Ackman bought roughly $1.8 billion worth of its stock this summer. While Ackman has not yet pushed for any changes at the company, P&G’s board came out in July in support of McDonald and his turnaround plan.

In June, P&G took the blame for a lack of big new products and not cutting costs fast enough as demand slows in some major markets. McDonald said it would take time to reverse the negative trends and that he expected little improvement in fiscal 2013, which began on July 1.

McDonald’s salary was flat in fiscal 2012 at $1.6 million. With 89 percent of his total pay tied to the company’s performance, his overall payout declined as P&G’s results came in below target. His bonus fell by $200,000, to $2.43 million.

Most of McDonald’s compensation comes in stock and option awards. Their combined value fell 8 percent to $10.85 million.

Shares of P&G were down 0.3 percent at $66.49 in early trading. The shares fell 3.6 percent to $61.25 during fiscal 2012.

Jobless claims fall as plants put off retooling

WASHINGTON, Thu Jul 12, 2012 – The number of Americans lining up for jobless benefits last week fell to a four-year low, a hopeful sign for the struggling labor market although some of the improvement may be temporary, government data showed on Thursday.
A separate report showed import prices falling sharply in June, fresh evidence of a cooling global economy but also a reminder that a drop in gasoline prices could help U.S. consumers.
The Labor Department said new claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000.
The drop, which brought new claims to their lowest level since March 2008, was much steeper than Wall Street economists expected.
“It’s welcome news,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey.
U.S. stock index futures trimmed losses after the data. U.S. bond prices held gains, while the dollar fell against the yen.
The prior week’s figure was revised slightly higher to 376,000 from the previously reported 374,000.
Hiring by U.S. companies slowed dramatically in the second quarter as employers grew worried about Europe’s snowballing debt crisis, which is weighing on the global economy. Many employers also are concerned over the possibility the U.S. government may cut spending and let tax cuts expire next year, which could send the economy into recession.

Facebook shares sink 11 percent as reality overtakes hype

MENLO PARK, Calif., Tue May 22, 2012 – Facebook shares sank 11 percent in the first day of trading without the full support of the company’s underwriters, leaving some investors down almost 25 percent from where they were Friday and driving others to switch back to more established stocks.

Facebook’s debut was beset by problems, so much so that Nasdaq said on Monday it was changing its IPO procedures. That may comfort companies considering a listing, but does it little for Facebook, whose lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley, had to step in and defend the $38 offering price on the open market.

Even so, one source said Morgan Stanley’s own brokers were at one point “ranting and raving” about glitches that left unclear what trades had actually been executed.

Without a fresh round of defense, Facebook shares ended down $4.20, at $34.03, on the Nasdaq. That was a decline of almost 25 percent from Friday’s intra-day high of $45 a share.

“At the moment it’s not living up to the hype,” said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago, adding that some people may have decided to hang back and buy the stock on the decline.

“Look at the valuation on it. It might have said ‘buy’ to a few people, but boy it was awfully rich,” he said.

ConocoPhillips profit dips on output decline after oil leak trims output

HOUSTON, Mon Apr 23, 2012 – ConocoPhillips reported a drop in quarterly profit as asset sales and the shutdown of its operations in China after an oil leak there trimmed its oil output.

Net profit at the company, which will split into two separate businesses at the end of the month, fell to $2.9 billion, or $2.27 per share, compared with $3 billion, or $2.09 per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding $330 million of special items, first-quarter 2012 adjusted earnings were $2.6 billion.

Citigroup quarterly profit falls; net income down 4¢ a share

NEW YORK, Mon Apr 16, 2012 – Citigroup Inc. reported lower first-quarter profit on Monday as the bank worked to contain expenses in the face of volatile capital markets.

The New York-based lender said net income was $2.93 billion, or 95 cents a share, compared with $2.99 billion, or 99 cents a share, a year earlier.

Earnings per share were $1.11 excluding the impact of accounting adjustments for changes in the value of the bank’s debt and that of its counterparties.

Revenue from its ongoing securities trading and investment banking declined 12 percent from the strong quarter a year earlier, but rose 65 percent from the weak 2011 fourth quarter.

“While the operating environment improved in the first quarter, there is still much macro uncertainty and we will continue to manage risk carefully,” CEO Vikram Pandit said in a statement issued by the company.

Citi shares were up 59 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $34 in premarket trading.

Jobless claims fall to four-year low, suggesting jobs recovery gaining traction

WASHINGTON, Thu Mar 22, 2012 – The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low last week, offering further evidence the jobs market recovery was gaining traction.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the lowest level since February 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The prior week’s figure was revised up to 353,000 from the previously reported 351,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 354,000 last week.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, declined 1,250 to 355,000.

The claims data covered the survey week for March nonfarm payrolls. Claims dropped 5,000 between the February and March survey periods, suggesting another month of solid job gains.

“That’s another indication that the labor market is healing. That’s good news for the March payroll report,” said Gus Faucher, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh.