Earnings Release – 21 Feb 2014

Verified by Joma Jose
Edited by Vani Rao

Wal-Mart fourth-quarter earnings declines 21%, provides weak FY2014 guidance

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (NYSE: WMT) fourth-quarter revenue improved 1.5% to $129.7 billion, marginally below consensus estimates of $130.38 billion. The company’s net earnings stood at $4.43 billion, or $1.36 a share, compared with $5.61 billion, or $1.67 a share, in the year-ago period. Wal-Mart’s net income (excluding special items) stood at $1.60 a share, marginally above the analysts’ expectations of $1.59 per share. The company’s comp sales (excluding fuel) dropped 0.4%, Sam’s Club sales fell 0.1%. The company has offered a weak outlook for the forthcoming quarter and expects earnings to be in the range $1.10-1.20 per share, below consensus estimates of $1.23 per share. For FY2015, the management expects earnings of $5.10-5.45, with revenue growth in the range of 3-5% year-over-year. On the other hand, Wall Street expects earnings of $5.56 per share. Wal-Mart declared a 2.1% quarterly dividend hike to 48 cents per share, payable on April 1, 2014 to shareholders of record as of March 11, 2014. The company is likely to acquire Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE:FDO) to expand its small stores business plan.

Priceline improves sales and bottom line on increased bookings, weak outlook

Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ:PCLN), the global leader in online hotel reservations, reported fourth quarter revenue of $1.54 billion, above $1.19 billion in the prior year period and Street estimates of $1.52 billion. The company’s net profit improved 35.2% to $471 million, or $8.85 a share, beating analyst consensus of $8.31 a share. Priceline’s bookings for the quarter increased 38.8% to $9.1 billion. Darren Huston, President and CEO, provided weak first quarter guidance with travel bookings growth of 23-33% and net income of $6.35-6.85 per share, below analysts’ expectation of $7.27 per share. Following the earnings release, the company’s shares gained 1.33% to close at $1,303, in the extended trading session on 20 February 2014.

Groupon’s revenue beat expectations, earnings back in black

Discount coupon giant Groupon Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GRPN) fourth-quarter FY2013 revenue rose 20.4% year-over-year to $768 million, beating analysts’ expectations of $718.73 million. Groupon’s earnings (excluding stock compensation) stood at $0.04 per share, above consensus estimate of $0.02 per share. The company reported GAAP net loss of $81.2 million, or $0.12 per share revenue, due to stock compensation and acquisition-related costs. The Chicago-based company provided weak Q1 FY2014 outlook and expects earnings of negative $0.04-0.02 per share on revenue of $710-760 million. Analysts at Wall Street are expecting earnings of $0.06 per share on revenue of $681.81 million in the forthcoming quarter. Shares of Groupon slumped 11.66% in the after-hours trading session on 20 February 2014.

DIRECTV’s strong Q1 results top expectations

DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, boosted by strong growth in US, where average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) rose 6%. The company said its net revenue rose 6.7% to $8.59 billion, topping the analyst estimates of $8.48 billion. DIRECTV’s Q4 earnings fell to $810 million, or $1.53 per share, compared to $942 million, or $1.55, in a year-ago period. Analysts were expecting net earnings of $1.30 per share. In Q4 FY 2012, DIRECTV benefitted from the sale of its stake in the Game Show Network. CEO Mike White stated that due to lower imports of set-top boxes and economic condition of the Latin American countries, its largest growth area countries subscriber base growth was 65% lower than the prior year quarter. The company has authorized new stock repurchases worth $3.5 billion for FY2014. Following the improved earnings and share repurchase announcement, the company shares gained 2.93% during the trading session to close at $75.08.

Actavis PLC posts strong fourth quarter results, outperforms expectations

Actavis PLC’s (NYSE:ACT) fourth-quarter net revenue surged 59% to $2.77 billion, from $1.75 billion in the year-ago period. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported diluted earnings of $3.17 per share, compared to $1.59 per diluted share in the prior year quarter. Analysts at Wall Street were expecting earnings of $3.04 per share. Paul Bisaro, CEO Actavis, highlighted the performance of birth-control pill Generess Fe and urology drug Rapaflo, which saw double-digit sales growth last year. The company affirmed its 2014 guidance, forecasting revenue of at least $10 billion, up from $8.7 billion last year, with EPS of $12.60-13.10, compared with last year’s EPS of $9.50. Actavis will update its guidance once it acquires Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE:FRX), expected by mid-year. Following strong Q4 results, company’s shares rose 4.66% to close the day at $220.37, also recording a new 52-week high of $222.24, on Thursday, 20 February 2014.

HP Q1 earnings beat estimates, but outlook misses Street expectations

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) reported first-quarter FY2014 sales of $28.2 billion, marginally below the $28.4 billion sales in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters’ were expecting sales of $27.19 billion. Excluding items, HP earned 90 cents a share, compared to 82 cents a share in the prior year quarter, above Wall Street’s forecast of 84 cents a share. The company’s Q1 results were boosted by stronger than expected PC sales, which helped HP beat industry estimates, as the PC market showed signs of improvement. Meg Whitman, HP CEO, highlighted the performance of company’s Personal Systems group, which achieved a year over year revenue growth of 4%. Going forward, for the second quarter, HP expects earnings of 85-89 cents a share, at the low end of Wall Street’s 89 cents estimate. For FY2014, the Palo Alto, California-based company predicts earnings in range of $3.60-3.75 per share, from the earlier forecast of $3.55-3.75. Analysts are looking for fiscal year earnings of $3.67 a share.

Holiday discounts drags down Nordstrom’s Q4 profits

Nordstrom Inc.’s (NYSE:JWN) net income fell by nearly 6% to $268 million, or $1.37 per share in the fourth quarter FY2013, from $284 million, or $1.40 per share, in the year-ago period. The company’s revenue rose less than 1% to $3.71 billion. Nordstrom’s EPS bettered the analysts’ consensus of $1.34, but its revenue fell short of anticipated $3.73 billion. The company’s profitability eroded mainly on account of lacklustre holiday sales and markdowns during the season. As guidance for FY2014, Nordstrom forecast a profit of $3.75-3.90 per share; analysts were anticipating $4.07 per share. The Seattle-based chain expects its revenue to increase 5.5- 7.5%, on sales of $13.2 billion to $13.5 billion. Analysts predicted $13.5 billion. For the first-quarter FY2014, the retailer expected profit of 60-70 cents per share, below analysts’ estimate of 78 cents per share.

Public Storage’s Q4 FFO rises, exceeds expectations

Public Storage’s (NYSE:PSA) fourth quarter FY2013 net income allocable to shareholders rose to $243.7 million, or $1.41 per diluted common share, compared with $209.5 million, or $1.22 per diluted common share, for the same period in 2012. The company’s fourth quarter 2013 normalized FFO (funds from operations) per share increased to $2.13 from $1.86 in the previous year quarter, easily surpassing analysts’ estimates of $2.03. Public Storage’s increase in net income is attributed to its revenues for the Same Store Facilities, which increased 5.4% or $22.0 million in the fourth quarter as compared to the same period in 2012, due to higher realized annual rent per occupied square foot and higher average occupancy. For the full year 2013, company reported FFO of $7.53 per diluted common share, as compared to $6.31 for the same period in 2012, representing an increase of $1.22 per share.

Express Scripts EPS in line with estimates, revenue tops Wall Street’s expectations

Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) reported fourth quarter net income of $506 million, or 63 cents a share, compared to $511 million, or 61 cents a share in the comparable period. Excluding items, the company earned $1.12 per share, in line with analysts’ estimates. Revenue for the quarter under review stood at $25.78 billion, exceeding Wall Street estimates of $25.36 billion. Increased use of generic medicines enabled Express Scripts to cut healthcare costs and improve its bottom line. Going forward, St Louis-based healthcare company forecast adjusted earnings of $4.88-5.00 per share for FY2014, representing a hike of 18-21% from 2013. Analysts’ current average EPS estimates are pegged at $4.93 per share. Express Scripts is optimistic about achieving long-term earnings growth of up to 20% per year. Post announcement of results, company’s stock hit a new 52-week high of $78.17, before closing the day 0.97% higher at $77.12 on 20 February 2014.

Upcoming Earning Releases

Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE) is expected to announce its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings results on February 21, 2014. The company’s Q3 FY2013 earnings of $1.25 per share outperformed the consensus estimates by 2 cents. Analysts are expecting earnings for the reporting quarter at $0.12 per share.

Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) will release its quarter results on Friday 21 February 2014. The company has beaten earnings estimates in past two quarters and the analysts are predicting the company to beat estimates on February 21 as well. The company has strengthened its position by various promotional activities like giving away free iPads. It will be interesting to see if Dish is able to preserve its subscriber base, especially after peer Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) posted modest gains for the first time since 2007.

Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE:PNW) will release its earnings data on Friday, before the market bell. In the previous quarter, the company reported net earnings of $2.04 per share, below the consensus estimate of $2.16 per share. Analysts are expecting earnings for the fourth-quarter FY2013 at $0.19 per share.

Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is expected to announce its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings results before the market bell on February 21, 2014. Industry experts will be keenly following the results, especially after the offer from Charter Communications to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWX), was rejected by the latter. Analysts are inconclusive about company beating the earnings estimates in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota-based cleaning products company Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) is slated to announce its Q4 results on Friday, 21 February 2014. In the previous quarter, company reported EPS of $1.04, which beat the analysts’ estimates by 3 cents. Ecolab achieved solid top-line growth, cost efficiency programs and improved margins in Europe in the third quarter. However, the company narrowed its 2013 adjusted EPS guidance to the range of $3.51-3.55 from the earlier guidance of $3.48-3.56.

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