Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by SA Editor Eli Hoffmann


  • Writedowns, trading losses for Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse (CS) reported a Q3 net loss of 1.26B Swiss francs ($1.08B), its second consecutive quarterly loss, as compared to a profit of 1.3B francs a year ago. The loss stemmed from writedowns on leveraged loans and mortgage-backed securities as well as roughly 1.7B francs of trading losses. CEO Brady Dougan, calling the markets 'very challenging,' warned he's 'cautious' on the outlook for Q4. Shares -3.1% in Swiss trading, bringing the stock to a 34% decline this year.
  • Darker forecast for Sony. Sony (SNE) cut its fiscal year profit outlook in half, saying a strong yen and the global slowdown would hurt earnings. The Tokyo-based company, with over 75% of its revenue generated overseas, is particularly vulnerable to foreign exchange moves and a strengthened yen has hurt its exports. The company now expects fiscal year operating profit of ¥200B ($2.05B), 57% less than its July forecast of ¥470B, with full-year net profit of ¥150B, a 38% reduction. The diminished outlook comes just as Sony was beginning to show improvement in its videogame and TV businesses, and had completed a three-year restructuring plan.
  • Good news from Nestle. Nestle (NSRGY.PK) posted a better-than-expected rise in nine-month sales to 81.4B Swiss francs ($69.75B) vs. a forecast of 81.07B francs. Adjusting for currency effects and acquisitions, underlying sales rose a strong 8.9% vs. an 8.2% forecast. Nestle, the world's largest food group, raised its organic growth forecast for 2008 to 'about 8%' from an earlier target of at least 7.4%. Nestle's geographic and product diversification have helped it weather the global downturn thus far. Shares +7.1% in Zurich trading.
  • Goldman swallows pride, cuts back on staff. Goldman Sachs (GS) will lay off about 10% of its 32,500 workforce, sources say. Goldman, which recently converted to a bank-holding company, has become less willing to risk its capital base, both for itself and its clients, which could result in lower profits - but perhaps a more stable business model - going forward. In September CFO David Viniar said he expected GS's record high headcount to remain stable-to-higher through year end, but that was then. Things look bleak for Wall Street workers.
  • OPEC wants non-members to cut too. OPEC is considering cutting back oil production in several stages, President Chakib Khelil said Thursday. OPEC ministers meet in Vienna Friday for an emergency meeting to consider dropping oil output in an effort to arrest a 50%+ drop in crude prices since July. Khelil also said OPEC is asking non cartel members Russia, Mexico and Norway to join it in trimming output. The global financial crisis is already forcing many companies to drop oil projects, he said, adding $90/barrel oil wouldn't curb economic growth. Crude fell more than 7% Wednesday after a larger-than-expected inventory build. It's up 2% to $68.10 in overnight trading.
  • Foreclosures slow. Foreclosure filings rose 71% in Q3 from a year ago, but only 3% from Q2 as actions to buffer lending markets appear to be slowing the bleeding. RealtyTrac says foreclosure filings dropped 12% in September from August, due mostly to state-law changes "that have at least temporarily slowed down the pace at which lenders are moving forward with foreclosures." Last month, foreclosure filings were recorded on one out of every 475 housing units. Nevada, Florida and California remain the worst markets in the country; Vermont is the best-performing state. (see also next item)
  • Homeowner aid on the front burner. The U.S. government is considering a $40B proposal to help stop foreclosures, one of the problems at the heart of the financial crisis. Meanwhile the Treasury Department has its own plan to employ part of the $700B financial rescue bursary to buy and renegotiate mortgages. At a Senate Banking Committee hearing today, FDIC chief Sheila Bair is expected to suggest the government give banks a financial incentive to turn non-performing loans into more-affordable mortgages, with the government sharing in any future losses, sources say.

Earnings: Thursday Before Open

  • 1-800 FLOWERS.COM (FLWS): FQ1 EPS of -$0.08 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $158M (+8.4%) vs. $150M. (PR)
  • Altria (MO): Q3 EPS of $0.46 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $4.34B (+6.9%) vs. $4.21B. (PR)
  • AU Optronics (AUO): Q3 EPS of $0.03 misses by $0.02. Revenue of $3.23B (-23.1%) in-line. Weak sales and soft pricing. Shares -8.1% in Germany. (PR)
  • Bunge (BG): Q3 EPS of $1.70 vs. consensus of $2.81. Revenue of $14.8B vs. $14.46B. Sees full-year EPS of $11.60-11.90 vs. $11.49. (PR)
  • Dow Chemical (DOW): Q3 EPS of $0.60 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $15.41B (+13.4%) vs. $15.63B. "In our view, we will likely see a global recession through most of 2009," DOW says. (PR)
  • Elan (ELN): Q3 EPS of -$0.18 misses by $0.04. Revenue of $270M (+52.9%) vs. $275.5M. (PR)
  • Eli Lilly (LLY): Q3 EPS of $1.04 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $5.21B (+14.1%) vs. $5.09B. (PR)
  • EnCana (ECA): Q3 EPS of $1.92 beats by $0.14. Revenue of $10.77B (+92.4%) vs. $5.92B. (PR)
  • NII (NIHD): Q3 EPS of $0.54 misses by $0.13. Revenue of $1.12B (+34.9%) in-line. (PR)
  • Petro-Canada (PCZ): Q3 EPS of C$2.56 misses by C$0.20. Production slipped to 424,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from 436,000 barrels. (PR)
  • Potash (POT): Q3 EPS of $3.93 beats by $0.36. Revenue of $3.06B (+136.6%) in-line. Cash flow from operating activities of $1.3B was almost four times last year's. Shares +4%. (PR)
  • RadioShack (RSH): Q3 EPS of $0.39 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $1.02B (+6.4%) vs. $0.99B. "After strong months in July and August, our sales and earnings trends slowed in September. We anticipate that this challenging retail environment will continue." (PR)
  • Range Resources (RRC): Q3 EPS of $0.51 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $348M (+62.2%) vs. $325M. (PR)
  • Raytheon (RTN): Q3 EPS of $1.01 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $5.9B (+13.5%) vs. $5.66B. Announces new $2B share repurchase plan. (PR)
  • Starwood Hotels (HOT): Q3 EPS of $0.71 beats by $0.18. Revenue of $1.53B (-0.3%) in-line. "While we can't control the economic environment, we can right-size our organization to offset the effects of slowing travel demand," CEO Frits van Paasschen says. (PR)
  • SunTrust Banks (STI): Q3 EPS of $0.49 misses by $0.11. Revenue of $2.46B (+20.7%) vs. $2.12B. (PR)
  • Thermo Fisher (TMO): Q3 EPS of $0.76 in-line. Revenue of $2.59B (+7.8%) in-line. (PR)
  • Xerox (XRX): Q3 EPS of $0.29 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $4.37B (+1.6%) vs. $4.47B. Says focus on small and mid-size businesses helped offset the economic challenges affecting U.S. large enterprises. (PR)

Earnings: Wednesday After Close

  • Alliance Data Systems (ADS): Q3 EPS of $0.91 misses by $0.25. Revenue of $511M (+3.9%) vs. $524M. Shares +6%. (PR)
  • Allstate (ALL): Q3 EPS of -$0.35 vs. $0.72 consensus. Revenue of $7.32B (-18.6%) vs. $6.32B. "We expect volatile financial markets and tough economic conditions to persist for some time." Shares +3.1%. (PR)
  • Amazon.com (AMZN): Q3 EPS of $0.27 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $4.26B (+30.7%) in-line. Sees Q4 revenue of $6-7B vs. $7.05B. Kindle titles now account for more than 10% of unit sales for books that are available in both digital and print formats. Shares -14%. (PR)
  • Amerigroup (AGP): Q3 EPS of $0.74 beats by $0.23. Revenue of $1.12B (+8.8%) in-line. Shares +4.7%. (PR)
  • Amgen (AMGN): Q3 EPS of $1.23 beats by $0.15. Revenue of $3.88B (+7.3%) vs. $3.7B. Shares +4.4%. (PR)
  • Anadigics (ANAD): Q3 EPS of $0.00 in-line. Revenue of $58.1M (-27.9%) vs $62.8M. Sees Q4 EPS of -$0.12 to -$0.14 vs. $0.02. Shares -17.8%. (PR)
  • Baidu.com (BIDU): Q3 EPS of $1.47 beats by $0.19. Revenue of $135M (+104.2%) in-line. Shares -3%. (PR)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): Q3 EPS of $0.59 in-line. Revenue of $340M (+18.9%) in-line. Announces a $100M share repurchase program. Shares +2.2%. (PR)
  • Cirrus Logic (CRUS): FQ2 EPS of $0.15 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $53.3M (+13.4%) vs. $52M. Shares +15.5%. (PR)
  • Cohen & Steers (CNS): Q3 EPS of $0.20 misses by $0.05. (PR)
  • F5 Networks (FFIV): FQ4 EPS of $0.24 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $171M (+3.4%) in-line. Shares +7.7%. (PR)
  • Intersil (ISIL): Q3 EPS of $0.44 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $219M (+10.3%) in-line. Sees Q4 EPS of $0.22-0.26 vs. $0.41. Shares +9.9%. (PR)
  • Lam Research (LRCX): FQ1 EPS of $0.26 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $440M (-35.6%) in-line. Shares -3.4%. (PR)
  • Noble (NE): Q3 EPS of $1.47 beats by $0.13. Revenue of $862M (+8.9%) vs. $871M. Shares +3.1%. (PR)
  • Plantronics (PLT): FQ2 EPS of $0.41 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $217M (+4.2%) in-line. Sees FQ3 EPS of $0.25-0.33 vs. $0.46. Shares -8.1%. (PR)
  • Pulte Homes (PHM): Q3 EPS of -$1.11 misses by $0.63. Revenue of $1.56B (-36.7%) vs. $1.53B. Impairments and land-related charges of $267M. Backlog = 5,885 homes. Shares -4.5%. (PR)
  • Robert Half International (RHI): Q3 EPS of $0.43 in-line. Revenue of $1.16B (-1.6%) in-line. "Our third-quarter results clearly were impacted by the turmoil in the global financial markets... Clients became increasingly cautious with their hiring actions as the quarter progressed." (PR)
  • Ryland Group (RYL): Q3 EPS of -$1.15 misses by $0.27. Revenue of $544M (-26.2%) vs. $512M. New orders of 1,284 units is down 31.6% Y/Y. (PR)
  • Seagate Technology (STX): FQ1 EPS of $0.26 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $3.03B (-7.7%) vs. $3.16B. Shares -4.7%. (PR)
  • SLM Corp. (SLM): Q3 EPS of $0.19 vs. consensus of $0.36. SLM increased its loan-loss provisions amid an increase in private-loan delinquencies. (PR)
  • Smurfit-Stone Container (SSCC): Q3 EPS of -$0.08 misses by $0.04. Revenue of $1.88B (-0.3%) in-line. Shares +36.8% after dropping 24% in regular hours. (PR)
  • Teradyne (TER): Q3 EPS of $0.09 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $297M (-0.7%) in-line. Sees Q4 EPS of -$0.18 to -$0.07 vs. $0.06 and revenue of $190-220M vs $272M. (PR)
  • Terex (TEX): Q3 EPS of $1.08 misses by $0.25. Revenue of $2.51B (+14.5%) vs. $2.43B. Shares -4.3%. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • Asia markets were sharply lower Thursday. Nikkei -2.46% to 8,461. Hang Seng -3.55% to 13,760. Shanghai -1.07% to 1,876. BSE Sensex -3.92% to 9,772.
  • Europe is trading down at midday. London -1.74%. Paris -3.21%. Frankfurt -3.69%.
  • After spending most of the night in positive territory, U.S. futures are now near their lows. Dow -0.48% to 8516. S&P -0.72% to 896.25. Nasdaq -0.9%.
  • Crude +1.68% to $67.87. Gold -4% to $705.80.

Thursday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha editor Rachael Granby contributed to this post.


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