Monsanto Soars on Bullish Outlook, $10 Billion Share Buyback Plan
Shares of Monsanto are soaring on Wednesday after the world's largest seed company reported a 6% drop in quarterly profit but issued a bullish fiscal-year outlook. Monsanto said it earned $858 million, or $1.62 a share, in the third quarter, down from a year ago but still topped analyst expectations of $1.56 a share, according to Thomson Reuters. The company also raised the low end of its full-year earnings outlook to $5.10 a share from $5 a share. Monsanto, which said it plans to double earnings over the next five years, also announced a $10 billion share buyback plan. In a research note, Morgan Stanley analyst Vincent Andrews calls Monsanto, "the most visible and attractive long-term growth story across the Chemicals sector."
Yelp Shares Soar As Q2 Earnings Beat The Street
Yelp, the leading online urban guide, reported profits of 4 cents a share, beating analysts' estimates of a loss of 3 cents a share. Revenue came in above expectations, up 61% from last year to $88.8 million. The revenue is largely a result of increased focus on local advertisements. The company has been expanding its platform for small businesses and put its efforts in mobile traffic. Active local business accounts grew 55% year over year to approximately 80 thousand in the online guide. Yelp expanded into Latin American markets over the past quarter, adding Argentina to the local guide in May. For the year, Yelp expects revenue growth of 60% compared to 2013 in the range of between $372 and $375 million. The Street's Kathryn Mykleseth reports in New York.
MetLife Misses Street Earnings Estimate Despite Overseas Strength
MetLife posted second quarter earnings of $1.39 a share on revenue of $17.8 billion. Wall Street analysts were looking for $1.41 a share on sales of $17.54 billion. Last year, the insurance giant earned $1.44 a share on $17.04 billion in revenue. Operating earnings in the Americas grew 5%, but increased 37% on a reported basis in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. MetLife said sales increased in China and South Korea, but fell in Japan. Net derivative gains added $202 million to profit, helped by falling interest rates. TheStreet's Gregg Greenberg has details from New York.
Whole Foods Q2 Beats Street, Ends Share Buybacks
Whole Foods Market dropped 6% in after hours trading on Wednesday after the super market chain told investors it would end its stock buyback program. Second quarter profits came in at 41 cents a share, that was above estimates of 39 cents a share and last year's earnings of 38 cents a share. Revenues of $3.4 billion were as expected and also showed a $400 million increase from the prior years third quarter. Whole Foods reaffirmed its full-year guidance for fiscal 2014. Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb was optimistic about the company’s ability to maintain its current upward sales momentum despite being one of the worst stocks in the S&P 500. Shares have fallen 37% since January. Whalen MacHale reports for TheStreet in New York.
Kraft Misses Q2 Estimates on Rising Meat and Diary Costs
Higher prices on coffee beans, meat and dairy products dented Kraft Foods' growth in the second quarter. The foodmaker's quarterly results came in at 80 cents a share, that's a couple cents short of expectations. Revenue grew less than 1% to a little over $4.7 billion, which was below estimates. It appears people shied away from the shelves when Kraft Foods decided to pass on some of the rising costs in raw materials to customers. CEO Tony Vernon said the entire food and beverage industry is facing challenges and Kraft Foods is not alone. He plans to focus on cost reduction and more innovative marketing in the second half of the year.
Stocks End Mixed After Wavering on Economic Reports & The Fed
U.S. markets closed mixed on Wednesday after a busy day with economic reports including GDP data which showed the economy grew more than expected in the second quarter. Stocks were steady after the Fed's decision to stay on course of tapering asset purchases. Bond yields held to session highs after the announcement. The benchmark 10-year note is at its highest yield in 2 weeks. Twitter (TWTR) stock shot up nearly 20 percent. Shares rallied on its upbeat earnings report highlighting better-than-expected user growth. Wells Fargo Advisors shared their thoughts with clients to 'stay invested and look for opportunities to put sidelined funds to work.' Exxon Mobil (XOM), Conoco Philips (COP) and Tesla (TSLA) are among the many companies set to report earnings Thursday. TheStreet's Susannah Lee reports from New York.
Obama Talks Economy, Minimum Wage, Student Debt
President Obama hit the road on Wednesday taking his message on the economy to Kansas City where he focused on the middle class, raising minimum wage and lowering student debt. The president underlined the challenge of making the economy work for everybody, especially while working with what he called 'a broken Congress.' President Obama also brought up the issue of corporate tax loopholes. On this issue he didn't hold back saying, "It ain't right. Not only is it not right, it ain't right." Since 2003, 47 companies have reincorporated overseas, almost double the number that reincorporated in the previous 20 years. TheStreet's Julie Cerullo reports.
College Athletes' Lawyer Sees Big Changes Coming to the NCAA
Jeff Kessler, partner and co-chair of the sports law group at Winston & Strawn, is currently representing college football and men's basketball players in an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA and five college conferences. Kessler's clients are seeking an injunction against longstanding NCAA rules that prevent the compensation of student athletes. Asked how he sees the NCAA changing in coming years, Kessler predicts that the entire college athletics system will need to restructure in order to treat athletes more fairly. Kessler says that in the end it is possible for the NCAA to have a more attractive product, higher levels of competition and still present a "demonstrably fairer" arrangement for the players.
NLRB McDonald's Ruling Could Change Franchise Model Nation-Wide
A new ruling issued by the National Labor Relations Board could change the model for franchises nation-wide. The NLRB's General Counsel ruled on Tuesday that McDonald's (MCD) now holds joint responsibility for how its employees are treated - this came in response to complaints that McDonald's violated its workers' rights during employee protests. According to a statement on the NLRB's website, General Counsel Richard Griffin found that of the 181 cases involving McDonald's, 43 have merit. McDonald's Spokesperson, Heather Smedstad referred to the decision as a, "unfair labor practice." She said, "McDonald's also believes that this decision changes the rules for thousands of small businesses, and goes against decades of established law regarding the franchise model in the United States." The National Retail Federation took McDonald's side on the ruling saying, "American workers may be the ultimate losers in this decision." TheStreet's Julie Cerullo reports from New York.
Microsoft Xbox One Sales to Start in China This Fall
Microsoft will begin selling the Xbox One gaming console in China on September 23. Microsoft will be the first foreign company to sell consoles in China after the government lifted a ban on the devices this year. Microsoft announced the launch date at an event in Shanghai saying the release has been approved by the Chinese government. With the announcement, Microsoft is expanding in the world's third-largest gaming market where revenues grew by more than a third from 2012 to nearly $14 billion last year. In the company's fiscal fourth quarter, Microsoft's computing and gaming hardware revenue for the company increased $274 million or 23%, according to results released in July. This announcement from Microsoft comes even as the company is being investigated by the Chinese government on anti-monopoly allegations. The Street's Kathryn Mykleseth reports in New York.