Vetted by Joma Jose
Edited by Vani Rao
Visa ahead of expectations, positive annual outlook
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) reported an 8.8% rise in its first-quarter profit to $1.41 billion, or $2.20 per share, beating analysts’ expectations of $1.38 billion, or $2.16 per share. The company reported revenue of $3.16 billion, up 10.9%, from $2.85 billion in the year-ago period. On a year-on-year basis, services revenue grew 9.2% to $1.42 billion and data processing revenue by 13.4% to $1.26 billion. Operating margins increased to 65.8% in this quarter from 63.2% in the previous quarter. Visa repurchased 5.5 million shares worth $1.1 billion in the first quarter of FY2014 and has further authorization for a repurchase worth $4.2 billion. The company is positive on its full year outlook, with a mid-teen rise in revenues and operating margin close to 60%. The company also expects to generate an annual free cash flow of $5 billion.
Hilton IPO boosts Blackstone’s fourth-quarter earnings
The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), a private equity firm, banked on gains from the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT) IPO and strong market sentiments to report higher-than- expected fourth quarter earnings. The company’s economic net income increased 130% to $1.54 billion, or $1.35 per share, from $0.67 billion, or 59 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The company reported quarterly revenue of $2.69 billion against $1.23 billion in the year-ago period, and above market expectations of $1.86 billion. Blackstone recorded a 76% rise in its annual economic net income to $3.51 billion from $2 billion a year ago. The company’s annual earnings per share increased by 73% to $3.07 from $1.77 in the year-ago period. The company has announced a dividend of 58 cents per share, 14 cents more than consensus estimates.
Exxon reports dip in profits, underperforms against Wall Street estimates
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profits, mainly due to declining production and lower oil prices. Exxon posted net income of $8.35 billion, or $1.91 a share, compared to $9.95 billion, or $2.20 a share, for the year-ago quarter. The company’s quarterly profit dipped by 16% as its oil and gas production declined 1.8% in the fourth quarter for the same period, a year ago. The company’s results underperformed against Wall Street estimates, which expected earnings of $1.92 a share. However, with other projects in the pipeline, the company remained optimistic about achieving its goal of increasing annual oil and natural gas production to 3% from 2% by 2017.
Hershey fourth-quarter revenue rises amid strong sales in North America
The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $186.1 billion, or 82 cents per share, compared with $149.9 billion, or 66 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Hershey’s sales were boosted by strong holiday-season sales in North America and international markets. As a result, net sales rose 11.7% to $1.96 billion for the fourth quarter, easily beating Wall Street’s estimates of $1.89 billion. Going forward, the company has slightly raised its outlook for FY2014, and is expecting earnings per share in range of $4.05-4.13, as compared to earlier estimates of $4.01-4.12.
Amazon’s sales jumps, but misses Wall Street expectations
Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) net sales surged 20% to $25.59 billion in the fourth-quarter, compared to $21.27 billion in the year-ago period. Amazon reported net income of $239 million, or 51 cents per share, up from $97 million, or 21 cents per share, in the comparable period. Moreover, the company’s net income also jumped 26% to $510 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $405 million in the year-ago quarter. Despite the surge in net sales and income, results in the current quarter have failed to meet Wall Street expectations of 66 cents per share in earnings. Amazon.com also released its first quarter guidelines, expecting its net sales to range between $18.2 billion to $19.9 billion, a growth of 13% to 24% compared to Q1 2013.
Harley-Davidson Q4 profit rises 6.8%
Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) posted fourth-quarter profit of $75.4 million, or 34 cents per share, as compared to $70.6 million, or 31 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Harley-Davidson’s profits increased by 6.8% in the latest quarter, boosted by a 14.3% rise in operating income from motorcycles and related products compared to year-ago period. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker also reported an increase in its shipment orders within the US and the international markets, which grew 6.3% and 4.7%, respectively, as compared to the year-ago period. Harley-Davidson is expecting its operating margin to rise within the range of 17.5% to 18.5% for the full-year 2014.
Motorola drags down Google’s bottom line, meets revenue expectations
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) missed its fourth quarter bottom line expectations, solely due to the losses from its Motorola unit. Losses from the Motorola unit doubled to $384 million from $152 million in the year-ago period. The company reported revenue of growth of 17% to $16.86 billion from $14.42 in the same quarter a year ago, which is in line with analysts’ expectations of $16.76 billion. Google reported net income of $3.38 billion, or $9.91 per share, which is less than market expectations of $10.12 per share. Google has announced the sale of its Motorola unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion. This has sent cheers in the stock market, and the company shares gained 2.57% during the Thursday’s session to close the day at $1,135.39. The company will allocate shares of the Class C capital stock to its shareholders as a dividend on the record date of 27 March 2014.
3M reports strong Q4 profit, but misses expectations
3M (NYSE:MMM) reported strong fourth-quarter profit of $1.10 billion, or $1.62 per share, up 14.9% from $991 million, or $1.41 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. The company generated record revenue of $7.6 billion, up 2.4% as compared to the year-ago quarter. The analyst’s poll at Thomson Reuters expected earnings and revenue to be around $1.62 per share and $7.71 billion, respectively. The recent buyback of $5.2-billion worth of shares improved the final EPS of the company by 5 cents. The company’s free cash flow conversion was at 131%, which helped the continuous investment in business and a dividend payment of $1.7 billion in cash. 3M’s management is positive about its business in 2014, and expects earnings in the range of $7.30-7.55 per share with revenue growth of 3-6%.