Chesapeake swears off big spending, shares jump

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., Tue Aug 7, 2012 – Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Tuesday it plans to stop spending heavily on oil and gas properties next year in a strategic shift from land acquisition to resource development, helping to boost the U.S. company’s shares by over 10 percent.

Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon has spent heavily to amass more than 15 million acres (6 million hectares) in oil and gas basins around the United States, leaving the company awash in debt and unable to fund its operations without bringing in deep-pocketed partners or selling properties.

Big investors including Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management’s Mason Hawkins have pressured McClendon to reduce spending and sell assets to bridge an estimated $10 billion funding gap for this year.

Chesapeake is pledging to lower spending and focus on producing higher-priced oil and natural gas liquids from basins it considers key, while it sheds up to $14 billion in assets this year and up to $5 billion in 2013.

In addition, the company will cut its capital budget by $6 billion next year, McClendon said. Its 2012 capex is estimated at $13 billion.

CVS Caremark sales jump with former Walgreen customers, raises outlook

WOONSOCKET,  R.I., Wed May 2, 2012 – CVS Caremark Corp. posted a sharp rise in first-quarter sales as the drugstore operator and pharmacy benefits manager continued to win over former patrons of Walgreen Co. stores, and the company raised its profit forecast.

CVS, which operates the CVS drugstore chain and the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefits management business, said sales rose 19.9 percent to $30.8 billion in the quarter, helped by an 8.4 percent increase in sales at drugstores open at least a year and more business from Medicare recipients.

Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, stopped filling prescriptions for patients of Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager, at the end of 2011. CVS, with more than 7,300 U.S. stores, is among the retailers benefiting as Express Scripts patients go elsewhere.

CVS cited the Walgreen-Express Scripts rift in raising its full-year profit forecast by 5 cents per share at both ends of its prior forecast, to between $3.23 and $3.33 per share. In the current quarter, it expects the impasse to lift earnings by 3 to 4 cents per share.

The company’s shares were up 3.1 percent in premarket trading.

CVS had net income of $776 million, or 59 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with a profit of $713 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, CVS earned 65 cents per share, beating Wall Street estimated by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pharmacy services revenue rose 32.3 percent to $18.3 billion. Revenue in the drugstore unit rose 9.9 percent to $16 billion.

Apple revenue jumps, beats Wall Street forecasts

SAN FRANCISCO, Tue Apr 24, 2012 — Apple Inc. on Tuesday reported quarterly revenue that handily beat Wall Street estimates, driven by strong demand for its iPhones and iPads, sending its shares 3.5 percent higher.

The consumer electronics giant said its fiscal second-quarter revenue rose to $39.2 billion, better than the average analyst estimate of $36.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Home mortgage applications jumped last week: MBA

NEW YORK ―Applications for home mortgages jumped last week, recouping last week’s steep decline as interest rates continued to fall, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, spiked 12.8 percent in the week Dec 2.

The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications also jumped, gaining 15.3 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases rose 8.3 percent.

“Applications increased significantly as mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in about two months,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

“In particular, refinance applications increased sharply, with some lenders seeing refinance volume double. Despite this surge, aggregate refinance activity is still below levels reported two weeks ago.”

The refinance share of total mortgage activity gained to 76.0 percent of applications from 73.9 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.18 percent, down 3 basis points from 4.21 percent the week before.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.