McDonald’s lower quarterly profit misses estimate

HIGHLANDF PARK, Ill. Fri Oct 19, 2012 – McDonald’s Corp. missed Wall Street’s expectations for the second quarter in a row and said October sales at existing restaurants have fallen as the economy and competitive pressures hit the world’s biggest fast-food chain.

A strong U.S. dollar weighed on results once again in the third quarter.

Shares of McDonald’s, which has stepped up advertising to fend off resurgent rivals such as Burger King Worldwide Inc. and The Wendy’s Co., fell to $90.51 in premarket trade on Friday from Thursday’s closing price of $92.90.

Global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.9 percent, the first time that such sales gained less than 2 percent since the second quarter of 2003. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 2 percent increase.

The sluggish U.S. economy and Europe’s belt-tightening are squeezing even the most resilient restaurant operators, as diners spend cautiously on meals away from home.

“October’s global comparable sales are currently trending negative,” McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said in a statement.

Income at McDonald’s fell to $1.46 billion, or $1.43 per share, in the third quarter, from $1.51 billion, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected McDonald’s to earn $1.47 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Manpower profit slumps on Europe, stronger dollar

NEW YORK, Fri Jul 20, 2012 – Global staffing services provider ManpowerGroup on Friday reported sharply lower quarterly profit that beat Wall Street expectations as Europe’s major economies weakened and a stronger dollar reduced results.
Net earnings fell 44 percent to $41 million, or 51 cents per share, from $72.7 million, or 87 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time reorganization and other charges, Manpower earned 76 cents a share, 5 cents ahead of average analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“Europe, which comprises 65 percent of our business, not surprisingly experienced the most decline in the quarter,” CEO Jeff Joerres said.
Sales fell 8 percent to $5.21 billion, meeting Wall Street estimates. Manpower saw double-digit sales declines in France and Italy but smaller drops in northern Europe.
Milwaukee-based Manpower is less reliant on European markets than rival Randstad, but more than Adecco or any of its U.S.-listed peers, according to BMO Capital Markets.
The stronger dollar hurt earnings by 7 cents in the quarter and will affect third-quarter earnings by 8 cents a share, Manpower said. It forecast third-quarter profit of 64 cents to 72 cents a share, while analysts were expecting 79 cents.

Apparel sales stay strong in April, but Costco misses estimates

NEW YORK, Thu May 3, 2012 – Several clothing retailers, including Limited Brands Inc. and Zumiez Inc., posted better-than-expected sales in April, helping to allay fears that March’s strength came from an earlier Easter and a warm start to the spring season.

But Costco Wholesale Corp. missed Wall Street estimates for the second month in a row, indicating competition with other big-box retailers hurt the biggest U.S. warehouse club operator’s performance.

Of the eight retailers that had reported April sales by early Thursday, four beat expectations and two missed, according to Thomson Reuters Data.

The Thomson Reuters index of analysts’ expectations for 20 retailers that report monthly sales at stores open at least a year called for a 1.5 percent increase in April, compared with a 4.3 percent rise in March.

March results benefited because of an earlier Easter – April 8 this year, compared with April 24 in 2011. It was also the warmest March in more than 50 years, which helped spur sales of spring clothing.

But that momentum continued into April.

Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands Inc. posted a 6 percent rise in same-store sales, beating estimates.

Teen clothing retailer Zumiez Inc. also beat estimates with a 10.1 percent rise.

And on Wednesday, American Eagle Outfitters Inc. sharply raised its profit estimate for the latest quarter as it sold more spring clothes at full price.

Costco was a different story. Its same-store sales rose 4 percent, while analysts were expecting a 5.1 percent increase, according to Thomson Reuters Data.

Cigna profit misses Wall Street target as earnings slip in segment

PHILADELPHIA, Thu May 3, 2012 – Insurer Cigna Corp. posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit on Thursday, as earnings slipped in its segment offering disability and life coverage policies.

Cigna is the latest health insurer to miss Wall Street’s earnings target in the period, following Aetna Inc., Coventry Health Care and Humana Inc.

Cigna did raise its full-year earnings forecast.

Net income fell to $371 million, or $1.28 per share, from $413 million, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Cigna’s earnings of $1.28 per share fell 2 cents below the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue jumped 25 percent to $6.79 billion, helped by the acquisition of Medicare specialist HealthSpring.

Profit in the main healthcare segment rose 6.5 percent to $262 million, helped by rising membership in its plans.

But earnings in its disability and life segment fell 16 percent to $65 million. The company cited strategic investments in its disability management programs as a factor pushing down profit.

Cigna forecast 2012 earnings of $5.20 to $5.55 per share. It previously projected $5.00 to $5.40. Analysts have been looking for $5.41.