Target warns 1st-quarter profit will miss forecasts

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Tue Apr 16, 2013 — Retailer Target Corp. on Tuesday warned first-quarter earnings would miss expectations, after weaker-than-expected sales of seasonal and weather-sensitive items, sending shares down 1 percent.

Target said adjusted earnings per share would come in slightly below the low end of its prior outlook of $1.10 to $1.20, and same-store sales would be about flat.

Target stood by its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings per share of $4.85 to $5.05 per share.

The company expects to report earnings on May 22.

Shares fell 1.1 percent to $67.70 in premarket trading.

Chrysler new-car sales in May miss estimates

DETROIT, Fri Jun 1, 2012 – Chrysler Group posted a 30 percent increase in May new-car sales in the U.S. market but fell short of what analysts had expected.

Chrysler, controlled by Italy’s Fiat, reported May sales of 150,041 vehicles, up from 115,363 in the same month last year. While it was the best May sales performance for Chrysler in five years, the results were below several analysts’ estimates.

The rest of the U.S. auto industry is scheduled to report sales results later Friday. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expect an annual sales rate for the month of 14.5 million vehicles.

Some industry officials expect the rate to be lower, however, as warmer weather earlier in the year pulled demand forward and led to stronger-than-expected sales. In addition, falling gas prices have reduced the pressure on consumers to get rid of gas-guzzlers and buy more fuel-efficient cars.

Auto sales have been one of the bright spots in the economy for several months and the monthly sales results offer an early snapshot of consumer demand.

Sales have shot up this year despite cooling consumer confidence and mixed economic data that illustrates how shaky the recovery has been over the last three years.

One factor fueling the sales growth has been Americans’ increasing need to replace their aging cars and trucks, which are now a record 10.8 years old on average.

Higher fuel prices in the first quarter prompted some consumers to swap older, less fuel-efficient models to lock in fuel savings. According to Swiss bank UBS, 63 percent of dealers said higher gasoline prices increased demand in the first quarter.

With gas prices falling again, the pace of new-car sales may moderate in the second and third quarters, but the underlying consumer appetite for new cars and trucks as a result of pent-up demand remains strong, UBS analyst Colin Langan said.

Dow Chemical profit beats predictions, but sales miss the mark

MIDLAND, Mich., Thu Apr 26, 2012 – Solid sales of herbicides and other agricultural products helped Dow Chemical Co.’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street’s expectations, but lower-than-expected revenue pushed shares down more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

Dow’s chemicals and other products are used to make plastics, computers, clothing and many other consumer goods. The company’s results are often seen as a key barometer of global economic health.

The largest U.S. chemical maker by sales said the U.S. economy is improving, helped by shale-derived natural gas, and that China would continue to be an attractive growth market.

But parts of Europe remain in “recessionary conditions,” the company said on Thursday. Volume rose in Europe only because of a propylene supply agreement Dow has with Braskem SA for that continent after the Brazilian company bought Dow’s polypropylene business last year.

“We anticipate that global growth will gain momentum as we move through the second quarter and into the remainder of the year,” Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement on Wednesday.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company posted net income of $412 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with $625 million, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period.