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

DuPont profit doubles as drought boosts farm sales

WILMINGTON, Del., Tue Apr 23, 2013 — Chemicals maker DuPont’s quarterly profit more than doubled as the worst dry spell in decades encouraged U.S. farmers to buy its drought-hardy seeds and crop-protection products to boost yields.

Strong wheat, corn and soybean prices also spurred agricultural sales in the Americas, helping DuPont beat estimates for the quarter despite an ongoing decline in demand for its once-lucrative titanium dioxide paint pigment.

The company’s shares traded up 0.7 percent at $50.74 before the bell on Tuesday.

“The first quarter finished as expected, with the strong agriculture performance and performance chemicals’ decline from peak levels last year,” DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

The 210-year-old company, known for its chemicals business, is focusing on food and agriculture products that are less exposed to ebbs and flows in titanium dioxide (Ti02) sales.

The shift is evident in the $5 billion sale of its car paint unit last year and the $6 billion purchase of nutritional supplements maker Danisco in 2011.

“Ti02 has declined and it’s a much smaller factor now. We also think it is bottoming so it’s become less of an issue,” John Roberts, who leads U.S. chemical coverage at UBS Investment Research, said ahead of the announcement.

He had expected first-quarter earnings of $1.55 per share, above the Wall Street estimates of $1.52 per share. Excluding one-time items, DuPont earned $1.56 per share.

The company’s net income for the quarter, which included the beginning of the North American spring planting season, jumped to $3.35 billion, or $3.58 per share, in the first quarter, from $1.49 billion, or $1.58 per share, a year earlier.

Morgan Stanley posts $958 million profit as wealth management grows

NEW YORK, Thu Apr 18, 2013 — Morgan Stanley reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit of $958 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $119 million, as its wealth management business grew.

The sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets said on Thursday it earned 49 cents per share on a consolidated basis in the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of 6 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding a charge related to debt value adjustment, or changes in the value of the company’s debt, Morgan Stanley earned $1.2 billion, or 61 cents per share.

On the same basis, analysts had expected earnings of 57 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, revenue from fixed income and commodities trading fell to $1.5 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier, reflecting declines in commodities and rates.

Shares of the bank, which has reported a profit excluding items in every quarter since the first quarter of 2012, were down 2.3 percent at $20.98 before the bell.

Excluding items, total revenue fell 4.8 percent to $8.48 billion, beating the average analyst forecast of $8.35 billion.

Revenue in the wealth management group, which had been expected to drive earnings, rose 5.4 percent to $3.47 billion, making up about 41 percent of total revenue.

 

Bank of America quarterly profit quadruples but revenue falls

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Wed Apr 17, 2013 — Bank of America Corp. reported a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit and its revenue fell, sending the No. 2 U.S. bank’s shares down 3 percent before the bell on Wednesday.

Net income quadrupled to $2.62 billion, or 20 cents per share, from $653 million, or 3 cents per share a year earlier as expenses dropped and the bank set aside less money to cover bad loans. But total adjusted revenue fell 8.4 percent to $23.85 billion.

Analysts on average had expected BofA to earn 22 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

BofA shares dropped 3.3 percent before the bell to $11.88.

Earnings in the year-earlier period were affected by a host of one-time items including a $4.8 billion charge related to the value of its debt.

Chief Executive Brian Moynihan has made progress in building capital and settling mortgage-related lawsuits since taking over in January 2010. But he is under pressure to show that the bank can produce higher earnings at a time of low interest rates, stricter regulations and volatile economic conditions.

BofA, the last of the big four U.S. banks to report results, has pledged to cut $8 billion in expenses by mid-2015 and has said it could reduce expenses in its division that handles delinquent mortgages by $1 billion by the end of 2013.

The bank showed signs of progress in these efforts in the quarter, with total expenses falling 5.2 percent to $18.15 billion.

Like other big banks this quarter, Bank of America results were also boosted by reduced credit losses as borrowers did a better job of making their payments. The bank’s provision for loan losses fell 29.2 percent to $1.71 billion.

Moody’s profit soars; forecasts strong 2013 earnings

NEW YORK, Fri Feb 8, 2013 — Credit rating agency Moody’s Corp., which could face a federal lawsuit tied to pre-crisis ratings, said quarterly profit jumped 66 percent and the company forecast strong 2013 earnings.

The company has been benefiting as firms refinance debt to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates to access cheap funding.

Moody’s said it expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.45 to $3.55 per share and full-year revenue growth rate in the high single digits percent range.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn $3.18 per share, excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The growth rate at the Investor Services unit, which houses the bond rating business, is set to slow. The company forecast revenue growth at the unit in the high-single-digit percent range, compared with the 20 percent rise in 2012.

Net income rose to $160.1 million, or 70 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $96.2 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 33 percent to $754.2 million.

Aetna profit falls on costs and legal settlement

HARTFORD, Thu Jan 31, 2013 — Aetna Inc. fourth-quarter earnings fell sharply, the health insurer said on Thursday, as costs rose in parts of its employer-based insurance business and it took charges for settling litigation over out-of-network payments.

The company said CFO Joseph Zubretsky will lead a new business internally. His CFO slot will be filled by Shawn Guertin, who has been with Aetna since 2011 and was previously CFO of Coventry Health Care Inc., which Aetna is buying.

The company announced plans in August for the $5.6 billion acquisition of Coventry, part of a strategy to expand in government-sponsored healthcare programs like Medicare.

Zubretsky, Aetna’s CFO for six years, will now have broader responsibility, managing new businesses such as coordinated care.

“He’s been very well respected as a CFO so now he’s heading up operations of their largest business unit,” said Sarah James, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Shares in Aetna were off 1.4 percent, or 69 cents, at $48.26 in morning trading.

Aetna said fourth-quarter net income slid to $190.1 million, or 56 cents per share, from $372.6 million, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier.

Profit took a hit from a $78 million after-tax charge for the $120 million settlement reached in December for the class-action lawsuit. Patients and doctors had accused Aetna of systematically underpaying claims.

Excluding special items, the company reported earnings of 94 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 95 cents on that basis, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Aetna said operating earnings fell in its commercial business as healthcare costs rose. Increased costs related to a severe flu season were offset by a decline in the Northeast of medical services after Superstorm Sandy, which shut down businesses, schools and public transportation for weeks or more.

Leerink Swann analyst Jason Gurda said in a research note the decline in healthcare earnings came as the company collected less money than expected in insurance premiums.

MasterCard profit rises as card payments grow

PURCHASE, N.Y., Thu Jan 31, 2013 — MasterCard Inc., the world’s second-largest credit and debit card network, reported a higher fourth-quarter profit as more people choose card payments over cash.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, net income rose to $605 million, or $4.86 per share, from $19 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company took a $495 million litigation charge in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue rose 10 percent to $1.9 billion.
Cardholders made $727 billion of purchases worldwide, on a local currency basis, up 13 percent.

Chrysler Group earnings rise 68 percent on strong sales

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Wed Jan 30, 2013 — Chrysler Group LLC reported a rise of 68 percent in fourth-quarter net income, to $378 million from $225 million a year ago, driven by higher vehicle sales in its home North American market.

For all of 2012, Chrysler said its net income was $1.67 billion, up from $183 million in 2011.

Chrysler, majority owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA, said its net income would rise to about $2.2 billion in 2013.

Chrysler’s 2012 net revenue was $65.78 billion, up from $54.98 billion in 2011.

The company said its 2013 revenue would be between $72 billion and $75 billion.

Lilly says generic competition hurts profit, sales

INDIANAPOLIS, Tue Jan 29, 2013 — Eli Lilly and Co. said on Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit fell as competition from generic drugs, particularly for its once top-selling schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, drove revenue lower.

The U.S. drugmaker earned $827 million, or 74 cents per share, down from $858 million, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items such as asset impairments and restructuring, Lilly earned 85 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected 78 cents per share.

Revenue dropped by about 1 percent to $5.96 billion, but were above Wall Street expectations of $5.81 billion.

Zyprexa sales slid 49 percent to $385 million from $750 million a year earlier. The company said the sharp drop was partly offset by gains in sales of other drugs and its animal health products.

Lilly forecast that earning would increase this year by 13 percent to 17 percent to $3.82 to $3.97 per share, excluding special items, due to cost controls. Profit will benefit by 7 cents per share due to a research and development tax credit that was delayed until this year due to the late signing of federal legislation.

It predicted sales will be flat to a bit higher this year, in a range of $22.6 billion to $23.4 billion, despite expected generic competition in December for its $5-billion-a-year antidepressant Cymbalta.

Lilly has been battered over the past year by generic forms of Zyprexa. Besides the looming threat from Cymbalta generics, it is girding for copycat forms of its $1 billion-a-year Evista osteoporosis drug that are due to arrive in early 2014.

Cymbalta had sales of $1.42 billion in the fourth quarter, up 20 percent from a year earlier, and a total of $4.99 billion in 2012.

The company hopes to cushion the blow from generics with approvals of some of its 13 experimental drugs now in late-stage trials.

Pfizer fourth-quarter results top forecast, gives cautious 2013 view

NEW YORK, Tue Jan 29, 2013 — Pfizer Inc. on Tuesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by rebounding sales in emerging markets, but the drugmaker forecast earnings for 2013 that was mostly below consensus analyst expectations.

The largest U.S. drugmaker said its earnings quadrupled to $6.32 billion, or 86 cents per share, in the quarter as it recorded gains from the approximately $12 billion sale in November of its nutritional products business to Swiss food groups Nestle SA. That compared with earnings of $1.44 billion, or 19 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 47 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected 44 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global company sales fell 7 percent to $15.1 billion, hurt by generic competition for its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, but came in well above Wall Street expectations of $14.37 billion.

Pfizer forecast full-year earnings, excluding special items of $2.20 to $2.30 per share. The average analyst forecast was $2.29 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.