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.

Textron earnings soar past Wall Street target

PROVIDENCE, R.I.,. Thu Jul 19, 2012 – Textron Inc. blew past Wall Street forecasts with a near-doubling of its quarterly profit, helped by strong demand for its Bell helicopters and a pickup in sales at its Cessna jet unit.
The world’s largest maker of corporate jets, which also makes EZ-Go golf carts and industrial components, said on Thursday that its second-quarter profit came to $172 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with $90 million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 10.7 percent to $3.02 billion from $2.73 billion.
Analysts on average had looked for earnings of 44 cents per share on $2.99 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The Providence, Rhode Island-based company has been riding a wave of strong demand for helicopters, and sales of its Cessna corporate aircraft have started to pick up after a long torpor.
Textron shares were up 6.8 percent at $25.38 in premarket trading.
Despite the second-quarter beat, Textron held its full-year profit forecast steady at $1.80 to $2.00 per share. Chief Executive Officer Scott Donnelly said that reflected the uncertain economy and the fact that purchases of corporate jets are strongly linked to business confidence.
“It is prudent at this point, given the uncertain nature of the economic and political situation, particularly in the United States, that we be a little cautious about the second half of the year,” Donnelly said.
Sales rose 21.1 percent at Bell and increased 17 percent at Cessna, the company said.

Macy’s maintains outlook for full year, disappointing Wall Street

NEW YORK, Wed May 9, 2012 – Macy’s Inc. kept its full-year profit forecast despite reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, disappointing Wall Street and putting pressure on the retailer’s shares.

Macy’s, which also owns the upscale Bloomingdale’s chain, has handily outperformed its mid-tier competitors in the last year, winning shoppers away from chains such as J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp.

CFO Karen Hoguet told analysts on a conference call that Macy’s has seen an uptick in sales in areas where a store competes directly with Penney, which in February implemented a new pricing strategy that largely gets rid of sales events. Analysts have said such changes would hurt Penney at least initially.

Macy’s often raises its full-year profit forecast after reporting such strong numbers.

When Barclays Capital analyst Robert Drbul asked Hoguet why the company had not done so this time, she said the “guidance for the year was more aggressive than usual.”

Macy’s gross profit margin edged down in the first quarter, largely because of shipping costs linked to its rising Internet sales. Sales growth in April, which had been expected to be weaker than in March because of an early Easter, came in below what Wall Street was expecting.

Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand said that Macy’s long winning streak may have led analysts to get ahead of themselves.

Macy’s shares last week rose to $42.17, their highest level since July 2007, making them vulnerable to a sell-off. On Wednesday morning, the shares fell as much as 6.3 percent to $37.02 on the New York Stock Exchange before paring some of those losses to be down 3.4 percent to $38.18 in early afternoon trading.

Loews conglomerate beats estimates on CNA Financial income

NEW YORK, Mon Apr 30, 2012 – Hotels, energy and financial services conglomerate Loews Corp. posted higher-than-expected quarterly results, helped by an increase in investment income at its biggest holding CNA Financial.

For the first quarter, net income attributable to Loews – run by the billionaire Tisch family — was $367 million, or 92 cents per share, compared with $379 million, or 92 cents per share, from a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 90 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue increased by 2 percent to $3.74 billion from the previous year.

Net investment income at Loews increased to $726 million from $661 million, a year ago.

CNA Financial saw its net operating profit increase to $226 million, or 84 cents per share, compared with $213 million, or 79 cents per share, from the previous year.

Analysts had expected CNA Financial to earn 69 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Loews closed at $41.01 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of CNA Financial closed at $30.15.

DuPont profit beats Wall Street estimates, helped by price hikes

NEW YORK, Thu Apr 19, 2012 – DuPont’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations, helped by price hikes and strong sales of insecticides and genetically modified seeds.

The company reaffirmed its 2012 earnings target, with Chief Executive Ellen Kullman saying DuPont will prioritize research and development spending on food, energy and security products.

Results from DuPont often serve as a barometer for the global economy since its materials are used to produce a range of items, from cars and homes to televisions and smartphones.

Shares of DuPont rose 0.7 percent to $53.65 in premarket trading.

First-quarter sales in Europe rose 14 percent, largely due to DuPont’s 2011 buyout of Danish food ingredients maker Danisco. The buyout reflected Kullman’s desire to stabilize earnings and grow DuPont’s presence in the expanding food market.

Sales in Asia were flat, in part because of soft demand for titanium dioxide paint pigment from automobile manufacturers.

Sales in the United States and Latin America both spiked.

The company on Thursday posted net income of $1.49 billion, or $1.57 per share, compared with $1.43 billion, or $1.52 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a $50 million payment to customers of DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide, which damaged certain customers’ trees, the company earned $1.61 per share. By that measure, analysts expected $1.55, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Price hikes help DuPont profit beat Wall Street estimates

WILMINGTON, Del. ― Chemical maker DuPont Co. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and raised its 2011 earnings forecast, pushing shares up nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

The strong outlook comes despite a weak environment for not only chemical makers — the latter part of the year is seasonally weakest for the industry — but also the broader economy.

DuPont, which makes a range of niche products including Kevlar, Tyvek and the titanium dioxide pigment used to make paint, nevertheless was able to raise prices in the third quarter by 15 percent.

Chief Executive Ellen Kullman touted the “resilience and diversity of DuPont’s business portfolio” as a defense against the rough economy.

For the third quarter, the company posted net income of $452 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with $367 million, or 40 cents per share, for the year-earlier period.

Excluding one-time items, including charges related to the buyout this year of Danish food enzyme maker Danisco, DuPont earned 69 cents per share.

By that measure, analysts had expected earnings of 56 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 32 percent to $9.24 billion. Analysts had expected $8.79 billion.

DuPont raised prices 15 percent across its portfolio during the quarter, the largest jump in more than a decade.

Most of the price jump came in the performance chemicals unit, which makes the widely popular titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment for paint. DuPont is the world’s largest supplier of the material, which is in tight supply.

The companywide increase had an effect on demand: total volume rose only 1 percent during the quarter.

DuPont said that while demand for Ti02 remains strong, it expects a “pause” during the fourth quarter.

“Titanium dioxide remains a central element of the DuPont story,” Ticonderoga Securities analyst Mark Gulley said. “We estimate that TiO2 will be about 25 percent of this year’s earnings and next year could be a third.”

Strong Latin American sales partially offset heavy spending in DuPont’s agriculture unit, where an operating loss shrank 64 percent to $69 million.

The unit was hampered last August after DuPont recalled its widely used Imprelis herbicide. Many customers and several lawsuits had complained that the treatment has killed thousands of trees.

The company spent heavily in its safety and protection unit, which makes the popular Kevlar material for bulletproof vests. DuPont recently expanded a South Carolina Kevlar plant.

Operating income in the safety and protection unit slipped 12 percent to $118 million.

Last month a U.S. federal jury awarded DuPont $919.9 million in damages, ruling that Kolon Industries Inc. had stolen Kevlar trade secrets. Kolon is appealing the ruling.

For the year, DuPont expects to earn $3.97 per share to $4.05 per share. The company had previously forecast $3.90 to $4.05.

Analysts expect 2011 earnings of $3.96 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of DuPont were up 1.9 percent at $46.95 in trading before the market opened. The stock has slipped 8 percent so far this year.