US Airways says April unit revenue down 4 percent

TEMPE, Ariz., Fri May 3, 2013 — US Airways Group on Friday said an important revenue measure fell in April, as it grappled with disruptions caused by furloughs of U.S. air traffic control staffers.

Unit revenue, or passenger revenue per available seat mile, fell about 4 percent last month from a year earlier for US Airways and its regional airlines, the carrier said.

US Airways, which plans to merge with AMR Corp. unit American Airlines and form the world’s largest carrier, cautioned last week that business demand was being pressured by federal spending cuts under the U.S. sequestration process.

Staff furloughs at U.S. air traffic control towers began April 21, causing flight delays at some airports. The Federal Aviation Administration suspended the furloughs after passage last week of a bill allowing the agency to shift money within its budget to halt them.

“We are pleased that the situation is resolved and we have returned to a more normal operating environment,” US Air President Scott Kirby said in the company’s Friday statement.

On Thursday, Delta Air Lines Inc. reported a 2 percent drop in April unit revenue due to soft U.S. demand and unfavorable effects from the weaker yen.

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.

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.

Boeing’s earnings, outlook overshadowed by 787 unknowns

NEW YORK, Tue Jan 29, 2013 — Just over a month ago, Boeing was flying high.

Its airplane factories were humming and speeding up production. Its defense business had just been restructured to deal with dwindling budgets in the United States and Europe. The company was confident enough to increase its dividend and resume buying back shares.

Perhaps best of all, Boeing was shortly to reclaim the title of world’s biggest plane maker, snatching back an honor that its arch rival Airbus had held for a decade.

But with its new 787 Dreamliner still grounded by two battery failures on the eve of its 2012 earnings release, the Chicago-based aerospace and defense giant is in no position to rest on laurels.

Analysts and investors are likely to grill Chief Executive Jim McNerney about the costs of fixing the 787 when the company reports earnings on Wednesday.

Those costs are unknown but mounting daily as airlines are barred from using the high-tech plane. Boeing is still building five Dreamliners a month but isn’t delivering them to customers. With each of them carrying a list price of $207 million, they quickly become an expensive pile of jets outside Boeing’s factories in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina.

That is why Wall Street is looking for guidance from McNerney about how painful the grounding is getting.

MasterCard revenue misses as consumers rein in spending

PURCHASE, N.Y., Wed Aug 1, 2012 – MasterCard Inc.’s quarterly revenue missed Wall Street estimates as worldwide purchase volume growth slowed to its lowest level in five quarters, sending the credit and debit card network’s shares down 3 percent before the bell.
Net income rose to $700 million, or $5.55 per share, from $608 million, or $4.76 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $1.82 billion. On a constant currency basis, revenue rose 13 percent.
The card network also took a pre-tax charge of $20 million, related to its share of the settlement in the ‘swipe fee’ lawsuit.
Excluding the charge, the company earned $5.65 per share.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of $5.58 per share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.87 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
MasterCard, along with rival Visa Inc. and banks that issue their credit cards, agreed to a $7.25 billion settlement with U.S. retailers in a lawsuit over the fixing of debit and credit card fees.
MasterCard had already set aside $770 million to cover most of its $790 million liability.

Dell’s weak computer forecast draws price target cuts

ROUND ROCK, Texas, Wed May 23, 2012 – Dell Inc.’s weak forecast and disappointing quarterly results triggered price target cuts from a slew of brokerages on the stock of the world’s No.3 personal computer maker.

Shares of the company were down about 13 percent at $13.13 in premarket trading.

Dell said it expects its revenue to grow 2 to 4 percent to between $14.7 billion and $15 billion for the current quarter, well short of the $15.4 billion analysts had been expecting on average.

A cautious IT spending environment and challenges in its PC business will keep dogging Dell in fiscal 2013, BMO Capital Markets analyst Jung Pak wrote in a research report and cut the price target on the stock to $16 from $18.

Dell’s first-quarter earnings and revenue were also lower than expected, hurt by weak sales to consumers, large enterprises and government units. Mobile devices like the iPad have hit demand for PCs.

AOL quarterly profit beats Wall Street forecast; display ads dip

DULLES, Va., Wed May 9, 2012 – AOL Inc. reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit on Wednesday, although lower premium ad sales in the United States and subscriptions dragged total revenue down.

The company said first-quarter revenue fell 4 percent to $529.4 million, beating analysts’ average forecast of $526.5 million.

Total advertising revenue grew 5 percent on strong growth in third-party network ads and international growth.

But display advertising – big splashy units on Web pages that command high prices – hit a hurdle in the United States, where it fell 1 percent.

“I wasn’t surprised that much,” said Benchmark analyst Clayton Moran about AOL’s display ad revenue. “We saw similar weakness from Facebook and Yahoo.”

“It could be an industry thing or that Google is gaining so much (ad revenue) share that other parties are losing,” Moran said.

Late in April, Facebook reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue drop in at least two years, blaming it on seasonal advertising trends.

Since its spinoff from Time Warner in 2009, AOL has been attempting to transform into a media destination dependent on advertising revenue, while at the same time winding down its lucrative dial-up service.

The company has snapped up a host of high-profile media properties, like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and has poured millions of dollars into a network of neighborhood news sites called Patch.

In the meantime, AOL has agreed to sell the majority of its patents for approximately $1 billion to Microsoft, which in turn is selling them to Facebook.

The company faces a looming proxy fight with one of its largest shareholders, Starboard Value. Starboard contends that AOL is not doing enough to return value to shareholders and has nominated a slate of three directors to the AOL board.

US Airways says April unit revenue rose 9 percent

PHOENIX, Ariz., Thu May 3, 2012 – U.S. Airways Group Inc. said on Thursday that its unit revenue had increased about 9 percent in April from a year earlier amid higher passenger traffic.

In a monthly operating statement, the airline said passenger traffic had risen 2.1 percent, while it increased its capacity – the number of seats for sale – by 1.6 percent.

The airline said its load factor, which is a measure of how full airplanes are, increased 0.4 percentage point to 83 percent.

Costco Wholesale second quarter beats forecasts on strong sales

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – U.S. warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp. posted quarterly profit above expectations, helped by strong sales.

For its second quarter, Costco earned $394 million, or 90 cents per share, up from $348 million, or 79 cents per share last year.

Sales rose 10 percent to $22.51 billion.

Total revenue for the company, which sells products from chicken to couches to customers who pay annual membership fees, was $23 billion, up 10 percent.

The company was forecast to earn 87 cents per share, on revenue of $22.83 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

AllianceBernstein fourth quarter revenue down on redemptions

NEW YORK – AllianceBernstein LP, a New York-based money manager controlled by French insurer AXA, said on Friday that net revenue fell 20 percent in the fourth quarter as clients continued to pull money from its stock funds.

The company, whose shares fell more than 3 percent, also took a $587 million noncash charge related to unrecognized deferred incentive compensation.

Earnings excluding one-time items dropped to $37 million from $139 million a year earlier.

That gave the company earnings per unit of 7 cents. Analysts on average had expected 19 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“The fourth quarter proved to be a difficult finish to a challenging 2011 for our firm,” AllianceBernstein CEO Peter Kraus said in a press release.

AllianceBernstein reported net revenue of $625 million, down 20 percent from a year earlier. Analysts had expected $650 million.

The company reported $406 billion in assets under management at the end of 2011, compared with $478 billion at the end of 2010. Net outflows in the fourth quarter were $13.2 billion.

Shares of AllianceBernstein were down 3.1 percent at $16 in trading before the market opened.