DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday as a handful of positive earnings reports helped investors look past the Federal Reserve’s policy decision that dented hopes of interest rate cuts.
- The S&P 500 snapped a three-day streak of closing at record highs on Wednesday after Jerome Powell stuck with the monetary policy outlook, driving down bets of interest rate cut this year which emerged in the recent months amid worries of a recession.
- Over halfway through earnings season, analysts now expect first-quarter earnings to rise 0.5% compared with a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of April.
- Qualcomm rose 3.3% after analysts said the chipmaker was well-positioned in the 5G networks space even as it forecast disappointing current-quarter sales.
- Under Armour gained 5.7%, topping the S&P 500, after the sportswear maker posted strong quarterly earnings and raised its full-year profit forecast, benefiting from stronger demand in overseas markets.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
Qualcomm to Get at Least $4.5 Billion in Apple Settlement
- Qualcomm will receive at least $4.5 billion as part of a legal settlement with Apple that ended more than two years of wrangling over the chip maker’s patent-licensing fees, the company said Wednesday.
- Revenue fell to $4.88 billion, but beat analysts’ estimates of $4.80 billion.
- Net income rose to $663 million in the quarter, from $330 million a year earlier.
- With the addition of revenue from the Apple settlement, Qualcomm expects revenue in the current third quarter to jump to between $9.2 billion to $10.2 billion.
- Without that payment Qualcomm estimated $4.7 billion to $5.5 billion in revenue, generally below the $5.29 billion analysts were expecting.
- Qualcomm estimated $1.23 billion to $1.33 billion in revenue for its licensing business in the third quarter, above analysts’ consensus forecast of $1.22 billion.
Under Armour Sales Inch Higher as It Pushes Abroad
- Under Armour reported revenue rose slightly in the first quarter, despite declines on its home turf, as the sportswear maker continued to shrink its inventory and expand abroad.
- Total revenue rose 2% to $1.2 billion in the quarter, ahead of estimates of $1.18 billion, as a 3% decline in North America was offset by a 12% increase overseas.
- The company reported a net income of $22.5 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $30.2 million a year earlier, when the company recorded restructuring charges.
- The company now expects profit of 33 cents to 34 cents per share for the year, up from a previously expected range of 31 cents to 33 cents.
DowDuPont’s Earnings Fall as Net Sales Slump
- DowDuPont’s first-quarter profit fell as net sales dropped and the company, which recently spun off its materials science business, recorded higher integration and separation costs.
- Net sales at DowDuPont dropped 9% to $19.65 billion, and at Dow, it fell 10% to $10.77 billion.
- As a combined company, DowDuPont’s adjusted net income fell to $1.89 billion, from $2.63 billion a year earlier.
- Dow said it expects to take a hit in the second quarter, mainly from seasonal planned turnaround and maintenance activity. However, it anticipates pricing to start rising sequentially.
Square shares tank after company reports weaker-than-expected payment volume
- Square stock dropped more than 6% after the company reported weaker-than-expected gross payment volume and guidance for the upcoming quarter.
- In the first quarter of this year, net revenue grew 43% year over year, and adjusted revenue grew 59% to 489 million vs. the $478 million in adjusted revenue expected by analysts.
- Revenue from subscriptions and services came in at $219 million for the first quarter — a 126% increase year over year.
- Gross payments volume came in at $22.6 billion, just under the $22.8 billion analysts were expecting.
- Square posted a loss of $38 million, compared to a loss of $24 million a year ago, just edging estimates after adjustments.
- Second-quarter earnings guidance came in light, with the company forecasting earnings per share between 14 cents and 16 cents on revenue between $545 million and $555 million — both lower than anticipated.
Israel’s Teva Pharm first-quarter profit falls slightly less than forecast
- Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reported a slightly smaller-than-expected drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday and said it was on track to cut $3 billion of costs by the end of 2019.
- Revenue fell 15% to $4.3 billion, mainly due to generic competition to Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and a decline in revenue from respiratory products and its U.S. generics business.
- Analysts had forecast revenue of $4.38 billion.
- For 2019 the company reaffirmed its forecast of EPS of $2.20-$2.50 on revenue of $17.0-$17.4 billion. Analysts are forecasting EPS of $2.40 on revenue of $17.29 billion.
- Teva posted a loss of $105 million, compared to a profit of $1.06 billion a year ago when the company benefited from a legal settlement.
Dunkin’ donut chain beats same-store sales on new menu, coffee
- Dunkin’ Brands’ donut chain reported quarterly U.S. same-store sales above Wall Street estimates, helped by its refreshed menu and new espresso beverages.
- Total revenue rose about 6% to $319.1 million, beating expectations of $312.5 million.
- Same-store sales at Dunkin’ stores in the United States rose 2.4% above analysts’ expectations for 1.43% growth, while international same-store sales rose 2.9% in the first quarter, topping expectations for 1.15% growth.
- Net income rose to $52.3 million, from $50.2 million a year earlier.
Kellogg’s Operating Profit Weakens in North America
- Kellogg said a key profit measurement weakened in North America in its latest quarter as the food company grappled with higher costs and weaker sales in the region.
- Overall, the maker of Pringles, Rice Krispies Treats and Frosted Flakes reported sales of $3.52 billion for the quarter, up about 4% compared with a year earlier and slightly less than what analysts were looking for.
- Net income fell to $282 million in the quarter, from $444 million a year earlier.
- In addition to the stronger dollar, quarterly earnings were hit by higher spending on divestitures, transportation and commodities costs. Excluding items, Kellogg’s results beat analyst estimates.
Shell Beats Forecasts Despite Chemicals, Refining Hit
- Royal Dutch Shell’s first-quarter earnings fell but the performance of its gas trading business helped the company fare better than many of its rivals.
- Revenue in the period fell 6.2% to $83.74 billion, Shell said.
- Cash flow from operations fell to $ 8.63 billion, from $9.47 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
- Shell said on a current cost-of-supplies basis its first-quarter profit fell almost 7% to $5.2 billion, compared with $5.7 billion in the same quarter a year ago when it posted its highest quarterly profit since 2013.
- Shell also said it would be able to sustain the $25 billion share buyback program it launched last year and will purchase another $2.75 billion worth of shares in the next tranche, up from $2.5 billion previously.
Apache profit misses on lower crude, natural gas prices
- U.S. oil and gas producer Apache missed analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday, as lower crude and natural gas prices offset higher output from the Permian basin in the United States and the UK North Sea.
- Revenue fell 6.4% to $1.64 billion.
- Average price per barrel of oil fell 10%, while gas prices dropped 17% per cubic feet in the first quarter.
- The company said adjusted earnings fell to $38 million in the first quarter, from $124 million a year earlier.
- Apache reiterated its 2019 forecast of production growth of 6% to 10% and capital expenditure target of $2.4 billion.
Marathon Oil profit beats on higher production, lower costs
- Marathon Oil beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter profit on Wednesday, boosted by higher production and lower costs at its U.S. shale assets in the Bakken and Northern Delaware regions.
- Total oil production averaged 203,000 net barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter, up 6% from a year ago, with U.S. crude production jumping 11%, adjusted for divestitures.
- The oil and gas producer’s net adjusted income rose to $256 million in the quarter, from $154 million in the year-ago quarter.
- On the back of rising production from its assets and a rebound in oil prices, Marathon expects second-quarter total oil production of 200,000 to 220,000 net bpd, with U.S. oil production of 180,000 to 190,000 net bpd.
XPO profit falls less than expected after Amazon.com reduced business
- XPO Logistics, one of the world’s largest global transport and warehouse companies, reported on Wednesday a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit after it lost $600 million in business from its top customer – widely believed to be Amazon.
- First-quarter revenue slipped almost 2% to $4.12 billion.
- Revenue in its transportation segment fell 4% to $2.66 billion after it bore the brunt of Amazon moving so-called postal injection services in-house.
- First-quarter logistics unit revenue rose more than 3% to $1.49 billion, helped by growth in e-commerce, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods and aerospace.
- XPO’s first-quarter net income fell 36% to $43 million for the quarter versus a year earlier.
Fitbit results beat Street as demand for wearable devices climb
- Wearable device maker Fitbit reported better-than expected first-quarter results and reaffirmed its full-year revenue forecast on Wednesday, as it sells more smartwatches and wearable devices that track health at affordable prices.
- Revenue rose to $271.9 million from $247.9 million, above Wall Street expectations of $259.7 million.
- Fitbit said it sold 2.9 million devices in the quarter, 36% higher than a year-ago, but average selling prices fell 19% to $91 per device as it focused on cheaper devices to compete with tech-heavyweights Apple and Samsung.
- Analysts expected the company to sell 2 million devices at an average selling price of $109.33, according to data from FactSet.
- The company’s net loss narrowed to $79.5 million in the first quarter, from $80.9 million a year earlier.
- Fitbit reaffirmed its full-year revenue forecast of $1.52 billion to $1.58 billion, expecting to sell more devices at cheaper prices.
Tesla Looks to Raise as Much as $2.3 Billion Through a Bond and Stock Sale
- Tesla is looking to raise as much as $2.3 billion through a bond and stock sale after the electric-car maker reported a steep quarterly loss last week that heightened concerns about its dwindling reserves of cash.
- Chief Executive Elon Musk had long insisted Tesla didn’t need to seek new financing as the Silicon Valley company wrestled with manufacturing and logistics challenges in bringing its mass-market Model 3 sedan to customers.
- In a securities filing Thursday, Tesla said it expects to bring in about $642.3 million in net proceeds from a public offering of about 2.7 million of its shares. Mr. Musk signaled his intent to buy about $10 million of those shares.
- Tesla also said it is offering $1.35 billion in convertible senior notes, due in five years.
U.S. FAA directive enshrines changes to Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday said it was mandating new flight control software and parts to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner to address what it called an unsafe operating condition of certain products on the plane.
- The FAA’s airworthiness directive to plane operators makes compulsory changes Boeing outlined in service bulletins in 2017 and early 2018 for certain areas in 787’s tire and wheel “threat zones” that may be susceptible to damage, the company said.
- The work has been completed on existing 787s and incorporated into the manufacturing process, Boeing said.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
Fed Holds Rates Steady, Signals Concern Over Sluggish Spending, Low Inflation
- Federal Reserve officials agreed to keep their benchmark interest rate unchanged and signaled comfort that their wait-and-see posture had steadied the economy after fears of a slowdown had sent markets reeling at the end of last year.
- All 10 members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee, comprising the five Fed governors and five regional Fed bank presidents, voted to keep the benchmark federal-funds in a range between 2.25% and 2.5%.
- Jerome Powell played down concerns that soft inflation might hint at broader economic weakness, highlighting price declines that could prove transitory and pushed back against some hopes the Fed might be preparing to lower rates later this year.
U.S. Jobless Claims Hold Steady at the End of April
- Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., was a seasonally adjusted 230,000 in the week ended April 27, matching the previously published level, the Labor Department said Thursday.
- Economists expected 215,000 new claims last week.
- Data can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average of claims, a steadier measure, rose to 212,500.
- The report also showed the number of claims workers made for longer than a week increased by 17,000 to 1,671,000 in the week ended April 20.
U.S. factory orders post largest increase in seven months
- New orders for U.S.-made goods rose by the most in seven months in March amid strong demand for transportation equipment, but rising inventories and a marginal rebound in unfilled orders pointed to slower manufacturing activity.
- Factory goods orders rebounded 1.9%, also boosted by orders for computers and electronic products, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was the largest rise since August 2018.
- Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders would rise 1.5% in March. Factory orders increased 1.7% compared to March 2018.
- Data for February was revised up to show factory orders slipping 0.3% instead of falling 0.5% as previously reported.
U.S. Worker Productivity Advances at Best Rate Since 2010
- U.S. workers’ efficiency improved during the past year at the best pace in nearly a decade, laying groundwork for stronger wage growth and continued economic expansion.
- The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as the output of goods and services for each hour on the job, increased at a 3.6% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter from the prior three months.
- From a year earlier, productivity rose 2.4%, that was the best gain year-over-year gain since the third quarter of 2010, when the economy was just emerging from a deep recession.
- Meanwhile, a gauge of compensation expenses, unit-labor costs, decreased at a 0.9% annual rate in the January through March period from the fourth quarter of 2018.
- Economists had expected a 2.4% quarterly increase in productivity and a 1.3% gain in unit labor costs.
U.S.-China Trade Deal in Sight After Progress on Tariffs, Market Access
- Negotiators made headway on thorny issues in the U.S.-China trade dispute, including access to key markets and how to roll back punitive tariffs, as both sides prepare for talks they hope will clinch a deal.
- Chinese subsidies and other sticking points remain, however.
- Other issues, particularly Beijing’s support for domestic companies, remain unresolved, leaving negotiators confronting a full agenda for meetings in Washington next week that are expected in part to focus on a draft agreement in Chinese and English.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet Enters 2020 Democratic Presidential Race
- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said Thursday he was entering the 2020 presidential primaries, bringing a moderate voice from a Western state into the crowded Democratic field.
- Mr. Bennet made his announcement in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” becoming the 21st major Democratic candidate seeking to challenge President Trump next year.
- He has been an ardent defender of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but he has diverged from some Senate Democrats on a “Medicare for All” single-payer health-care plan, pressing instead for an expansion of Obamacare to include a government-run public option for people unable to get private insurance through their employer.
EUROPE & WORLD
OPEC Warns Against Mixing Oil and Politics as U.S. Iran Ban Begins
- The head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries warned against the political use of oil markets during a trip to Tehran, as tightened U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports begin.
- U.S. waivers on purchasing Iranian oil expired overnight for eight countries, including Iran’s main oil customer, China.
- Speaking at an oil conference in Tehran on Thursday, OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo said his group is working to “depoliticize oil” and “insulate our organization against geopolitics.” He didn’t directly address the U.S. sanctions.
Venezuela Opposition Seeks Traction on Day Two of Uprising
- Opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for daily strikes and protests as thousands of Venezuelans demonstrated around the country for a second day in a bid to raise pressure on authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro.
- Mr. Guaidó, speaking a day after his effort to turn the military against Mr. Maduro failed to spur large numbers of defections, said strikes would begin Thursday with public-sector workers who have seen their wages and pensions crushed by hyperinflation.
- On Wednesday, Mr. Guaidó vowed to keep up the pressure as senior U.S. national-security officials were set to meet to discuss Venezuela’s crisis.
- While “all options” remain under consideration, no military action in Venezuela was imminent, a senior administration official said.
Sri Lanka Identifies All Nine Easter Bombers
- The eight men and one woman who detonated bombs on Easter Sunday, killing themselves and more than 250 others, were a collection of Islamist radicals including a quiet truck driver and a foreign-educated engineer.
- Sri Lankan authorities released the names of the suicide bombers—ranging from the poor and uneducated to the wealthy and worldly, originally gathered into two different Islamist organizations—after completing DNA tests to confirm their identities.
- At least one bomber had traveled to Syria and trained with Islamic State, according to a person familiar with the matter.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin. (1945)
- Nelson Mandela was victorious in South Africa’s first multiracial election. (1994)
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