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$CMCSA Posts Better Than Expected Profits and Revenues

“(Reuters) – Comcast Corp posted higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by strength on the cable side of the business.

The leading U.S. cable television provider, which also owns broadcaster NBC Universal, posted first-quarter profit of $1.4 billion, or 54 cents a share, up from $1.22 billion, or 45 cents a year ago.

Excluding revenue from Comcast’s sale of spectrum, the company posted earnings of 51 per share and beat analyst estimates by a penny.

While the cable unit lost a worse-than-expected 60,000 customers, it added 433,000 high-speed Internet customers, slightly more than the 432,000 that analysts, on average, expected, according to StreetAccount. Analysts looked for Comcast to lose 29,000 video customers, according to Street Account.

Revenue at NBC Universal rose 2.4 percent year over to $5.4 billion. Operating cash flow at the broadcast television unit NBC was negative $14 million, better than a year ago, when it was negative $35 million….”

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$VIA Misses Estimates Both Top and Bottom Line

“(Reuters) – Viacom Inc reported a 6 percent drop in revenue because of a weak slate of movies from its studio Paramount Pictures, but advertising revenue turned positive during the quarter.

The company said for the quarter that ended March 31, revenue was $3.14 billion, slightly lower than analysts’ expectations of $3.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

But its cable network properties, which include MTV and Nickelodeon, were climbing out of a slump as advertising revenue rose 2 percent in the United States.

Viacom has been struggling with a decline in TV ratings…”

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$TWC Beat Estimates and Reaffirms Guidance

“(Reuters) – Time Warner Inc posted a higher first-quarter profit on Wednesday, as growth in its cable networks offset declines in the film, TV entertainment and publishing units.

The company also stood by its earnings growth outlook for the year, although that forecast does not include the planned spin-off of the publishing business.

Net income for the media company, which owns the CNN cable network, premium TV service HBO and a movie studio, rose to $720 million, or 75 cents per share, from $583 million, or 59 cents a share, a year ago.

Adjusted earnings of 82 cents per share easily beat the consensus Wall Street forecast of 75 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Earnings exceeded even the highest of the 28 estimates that made up the consensus.

But revenue came in below even the lowest Wall Street expectations….”

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Refiners Report Good Earnings – $VLO, $MPC

“Oil refiners Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reported first-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning.
Marathon posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.17 on revenues of $23.35 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.71 on revenues of $20.28 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.16 and $19.8 billion in revenues.

Marathon’s refinery throughput rose from 1.32 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.67 million barrels. Sales volume also rose, from 1.53 million barrels a day to 1.88 million barrels. Gross margins fell, however, from $8.36 a barrel last year to $7.92 a barrel. Total income rose $200 million year-over-year, from $956 million to $1.16 billion.

Valero posted EPS of $1.18 on revenues of $33.47 billion, compared with an EPS loss of $0.78 on revenues of $35.17 billion in 2011. The first-quarter 2012 results include a charge of $1.09 per share related to the closure of the company’s Aruba refinery. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $0.98 on revenues of $30.41 billion.

Like Marathon, Valero’s refinery throughput rose. Unlike Marathon, Valero’s gross margins also rose. Refining margins rose from $7.71 a barrel in the year-ago quarter to $10.59 this year. Total input volume rose by about 11,000 barrels a day year-over-year and total yield rose by 16,000 barrels a day.

Valero’s CEO said…”

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$UBS Posts a Better Than Expected Profit

“ZURICH—UBS AG UBSN.VX +7.00% posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit Tuesday as Switzerland’s biggest bank pushes through an extended restructuring program in the wake of the financial crisis.

The Zurich-based bank still recorded a fall in net profit, to 988 million Swiss francs ($1.05 billion) from 1.04 billion francs a year earlier, though analysts had expected the figure to come in at 496 million francs. The result compares with a loss of 1.89 billion francs in the fourth quarter of 2012, when UBS agreed to pay $1.5 billion to various authorities to settle investigations into the bank’s role in rigging key interest rates….”

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$HLF Beats Estimates, Company Raises Guidance Below Expectations

“Herbalife on Monday delivered its 17th straight earnings beat and raised its full-year outlook, but its second-quarter guidance fell short of expectations.

Shares in the multilevel marketer of weight-loss shakes and skin lotions wavered after the report. 

Net income rose to $118.9 million, or $1.10 a share, from $108.2 million, or 88 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, earnings rose to $1.27 per share from 88 cents a share in the year-earlier period, while revenue improved 14 percent to $1.10 billion from $964 million a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings excluding items of $1.06 a share on $1.12 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The company raised its full-year outlook to $4.60 a share to $4.80 a share vs. the current consensus estimate of $4.66 a share….”

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Cost Cutting Helps $AVP Post Better Than Expected Profits, Revs Rise

“(Reuters) – Avon Products Inc (AVP.N) on Tuesday reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit in the latest sign the beauty products company’s business continues to improve, helped by higher sales in key markets Brazil and Russia and cost cuts.

Overall, revenue in the quarter fell 3.5 percent to $2.48 billion, but was flat when stripping away the impact of currency fluctuations. Avon’s growth in Latin America and Eastern Europe contrasted with a poor showing in North America, where sales again slid, falling 15 percent.

Avon reported a net loss of $13.7 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with net income of $26.5 million, or 6 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding items such as a charge related to the recent currency devaluation in Venezuela, a big market for Avon, the company reported adjusted net income was $112 million, or 26 cents per share, helped in large part by cost cutting efforts.

That was well above the 14 cents per share Wall Street analysts were projection, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S….”

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$PFE Misses Expectations and Guides Lower

Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the world’s biggest drugmaker, lowered its 2013 profit forecast after first-quarter sales and earnings missed analyst estimates.

Full-year earnings excluding one-time items may be $2.14 to $2.24 a share, New York-based Pfizer said in a statement today. The company’s gave a previous 2013 forecast of $2.20 to $2.30 in January. First-quarter profit missed analyst estimates by 1 cent, the average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

First-quarter sales were $13.5 billion, less than analyst estimates of $13.94 billion, as revenue for Prevnar, a vaccine for pneumococcal diseases, and erectile dysfunction drug Viagra fell short of expectations. Investors are focused on whether Pfizer will split apart after shedding two non-drug units. Chief Executive Officer Ian Read has been floating the idea of cleaving the company into a brand-name drug unit and a generics business, as a move to raise the total value of two companies….”

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$SOHU Beats Estimates

Sohu.com Inc. (SOHU), owner of China’s third-largest search engine, posted first-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates on higher online advertising sales.

Net income rose 14 percent to $23 million, the Beijing- based company said in a statement today. That beat the $18.8 million average of six analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 36 percent to $308 million, compared with the average of analysts’ estimate of $296 million.

Sohu has expanded into online videos and search in competition with Baidu Inc. (BIDU) to diversify its sales channels and depend less on its Web portal business in China, which has more Internet users than the population of any country except India. Revenue from online advertisements rose 41 percent from a year earlier to $116 million, it said.

“Online advertising was better than expected,” Eric Qiu, an analyst at Guosen Securities Co. in Hong Kong, said by telephone before the results. “Most of the ad growth is coming from its portal website and search business,” said Qiu, who recommends buying the stock….”

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Profits Fall for China’s Industrial Companies

“Growth in Chinese industrial companies’ profits slowed in March, adding to evidence the nation’s economic recovery is losing steam.

Net income increased 5.3 percent from a year earlier to 464.9 billion yuan ($75 billion), down from a 17.2 percent pace in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on itswebsite on April 27. Profit in the first quarter rose 12.1 percent to 1.17 trillion yuan, it said.

China’s stocks fell for a third straight month in April amid investor concern that the recovery in the country’s economic expansion is losing momentum and will hurt corporate earnings. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) closed 1 percent lower on April 26, the last trading day before a three- day holiday ending May 1.

“Profits are only growing in line with sales and with problems of overcapacity and the sluggish global picture, it doesn’t bode well for a speedy return to higher profit margins,” said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Hong Kong. “Heavy industries especially still face destocking and higher costs, but if there is a silver lining, industries catering to the consumer, like textiles, food and beverages, seem to be doing much better.”

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., a producer of dairy products, reported an 18.6 percent rise in first-quarter net income, according to an April 26 statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Industrial companies’ revenue rose 11.9 percent in the first three months to 22.2 trillion yuan, according to the statistics bureau statement. That’s down from 13.1 percent in the first two months. The bureau doesn’t break down January and February data due to distortions caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday. No figure was given for March sales.

Lower Estimates…”

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$YUM Earnings Are Finger Licking Good Beating Down Bird Flu Fears

“(Reuters) – KFC parent Yum Brands Inc on Tuesday reported that quarterly profit fell less than Wall Street expected, despite a sharp drop in sales in its top China market, sending the company’s shares up nearly 6 percent.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based fast-food company also repeated its earnings forecast for the year, based on the better-than-expected first-quarter results.

Sales at established restaurants in China fell an expected 20 percent during the first quarter and Yum warned that fears surrounding a bird flu outbreak there were continuing to depress sales already struggling to recover from a previous food safety scare.

The fast-food operator reaps more than half of its overall sales in China, where most of its nearly 5,300 restaurants are KFCs.

Still, Yum expects sales to recover in China, where it is on track to add 700 new restaurants this year…..”

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$AAPL Fails to Impress Despite a Revenue Beat

$AAPL beats on revs, shows slow subscriber-ship growth in China, the U.S., and guides slightly lower than Wall st. forecasts. More downside action may be had as Cook says the next big thing comes in the latter half of 2014.

To soothe investors the company more than doubles its current capital plan by taking out a line of debt to fund a stock repurchase program.

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Tax Benefits Help $AMGN Post a 21% Rise in Profits, Revs Miss

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Tax benefits helped biotech giant Amgen Inc.’s first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street’s prediction, despite disappointing drug sales.

The company said Tuesday that net income rose 21 percent to $1.43 billion, or $1.88 per share, from $1.18 billion, or $1.48 per share, in the prior-year period. It got a boost from $13 million in federal and state tax benefits in the most recent quarter.

Adjusting for one-time expenses the company would have earned $1.96 per share, better than the $1.84 average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 5 percent, to $4.24 billion, missing analysts’ estimate of $4.37 billion. Operating expenses rose 9 percent, to $2.67 billion.

Shares fell $7.01, or 6.2 percent, to $105.75 in after-hours trading.

Overall drug sales rose 6 percent, driven by growth of Enbrel for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis and Prolia for osteoporosis. But those gains were partially offset by the continued slide of anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen, which have faced limits on dosing and insurance payments due to safety concerns. Aranesp sales fell 10 percent to $168 million, while Epogen declined 2 percent to $435 million.

Despite continuing declines for anemia drugs, those products could get a boost in coming months after a major setback for a rival product….”

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Despite Subscriber Growth $T Posts a Miss in Revenues

“Competition is undeniably tight in the wireless-carrier market, especially between market leadersAT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), which together hold almost a duopoly.

While Verizon did not report as many smartphone activations as it did in the previous quarter, AT&T’sfirst-quarter results, reported after the market closed Tuesday, showed that the carrier amassed 1.2 million new smartphone subscribers, a figure that contributed to the company’s best-ever first quarter in terms of smartphone sales. Now, more than 72 percent, or approximately 48.3 million, of all the company’s on-contract customers own smartphones. Additionally, AT&T added 296,000 new postpaid customers during the quarter.

For technology companies and wireless carriers alike, smartphones — along with their related accessories and services — are the most profitable business sectors. In evidence of this, AT&T’s gains in smartphone sales and contracts pushed its wireless revenue to $16.7 billion, an increase of 4 percent from the year-ago quarter.

In comparison, AT&T’s primary rival, Verizon, reported last week that it had added 677,000 new subscribers during the last quarter and sold 7.2 million smartphones…”

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$TRV Sees Higher Profits on Lower Claims and Higher Rates

Travelers posted a higher first-quarter profit, helped by a decline in natural disaster losses and rising insurance rates.

After the earnings announcement, the company’s shares rose in pre-market trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes for Travelers.)

The company posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of $2.33 per share, up from $2.01 a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue increased to $5.597 billion from $5.50 billion a year ago….”

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$DAL Beats Expectations, Profits Fall With Fewer Hedging Gains

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s DAL -0.79% first-quarter net profit fell 94% as the carrier posted fewer fuel-hedging gains, offsetting modest revenue growth.

Adjusted earnings topped expectations, however.

Delta recently was one of the first companies to cite the so-called sequester U.S. budget cuts that came into force last month as it saw revenue growth slow in March. The company also blamed reduced government spending for lower late flight bookings, which typically attract higher fares—while signaling that demand also was hurt by efforts to raise fares….”

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$X Beats Expectations

“(Reuters) – Xerox Corp on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations but said second-quarter profit would miss estimates as it restructures to become a broader technology company.
Adjusted earnings were 27 cents per share, compared with the average analyst estimate of 24 cents. Revenue fell 3 percent to $5.4 billion, below analyst expectations of $5.5 billion.
Xerox said earnings were higher than expected due to a benefit of 2 cents after reducing its reserve for recent litigation. It did not elaborate.
For the second quarter, Xerox, which has its roots in copiers and printers and now focuses on services like managing toll systems and healthcare programs, forecast earnings, excluding items, in the range of 23 cents to 25 cents per share. Wall Street is looking for 26 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S…”

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Drought Helps $DD to Double Profits

“(Reuters) – Chemicals maker DuPont’s quarterly profit more than doubled as the worst dry spell in decades encouraged U.S. farmers to buy its drought-hardy seeds and crop-protection products to boost yields.

Strong wheat, corn and soybean prices also spurred agricultural sales in the Americas, helping DuPont beat estimates for the quarter despite an ongoing decline in demand for its once-lucrativetitanium dioxide paint pigment.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based company’s shares traded up 0.7 percent at $50.74 before the bell on Tuesday.

“The first quarter finished as expected, with the strong agriculture performance and performance chemicals’ decline from peak levels last year,” DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

The 210-year-old company, known for its chemicals business, is focusing on food and agriculture products that are less exposed to ebbs and flows in titanium dioxide (Ti02) sales.

The shift is evident in the $5 billion sale of its car paint unit last year and the $6 billion purchase of nutritional supplements maker Danisco in 2011.

“Ti02 has declined and it’s a much smaller factor now. We also think it is bottoming so it’s become less of an issue,” John Roberts, who leads U.S. chemical coverage at UBS Investment Research, said ahead of the announcement.

He had expected first-quarter earnings of $1.55 per share, above the Wall Street estimates of $1.52 per share. Excluding one-time items, DuPont earned $1.56 per share….”

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$ARM Beats Expectations With Revenues Jumping 29%

ARM Holdings Plc (ARM), whose chip designs power Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and iPad, reported higher sales that beat analysts’ estimates as demand increased for its graphics and processing technology. The stock jumped.

Revenue rose 29 percent to 170.3 million pounds ($260 million) in the first quarter ended in March, the Cambridge, England-based company said today. Analysts predicted 160 million pounds, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

ARM Chief Executive Officer Warren East said in March he would retire July 1 after almost 12 years in charge. His successor, Simon Segars, will focus on increasing the company’s share of semiconductor designs and moving ARM’s technology into connected devices, Web-enabled “smart” televisions, tablets and smartphones. ARM’s chip designs compete with patents from semiconductor makers such as Intel Corp. (INTC)

“We’ve made an encouraging start to 2013 with more leading companies deploying our technology in their products,” ARM Chief Financial Officer Tim Score said on a conference call.

ARM’s revenue increase this year will be “quite well ahead of” the industry’s projected growth in the “mid-single digits,” Score said. That means ARM’s sales will be at least in line with market expectations, he said.

ARM rose as much as 8.8 percent to 945.5 pence, the biggest intraday gain since July, and advanced 7.3 percent to 932.5 pence at 8:30 a.m. in London. The stock had risen 53 percent in the 12 months through yesterday.

Connected Appliances…”

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$STM Guides Higher on Chip Demand for the Second Half of 2013

STMicroelectronics NV (STM)Intel Corp. (INTC)’s biggest competitor in Europe, forecast new products and chip demand will boost sales in the second half as it winds down a wireless venture with Ericsson AB that has contributed to six consecutive quarterly losses.

Europe’s biggest chipmaker predicted second-quarter sales growth of about 7 percent, excluding the wireless business. The projection “seems to be ahead of analog peers and implies share gains,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts led by Didier Scemama wrote in a note to clients….”

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