November 20, 2019

Grim Picture of Recovery in Forecasts by Retailers

Major retailers, like Walmart and Kohl’s, that cater to budget-conscious customers with lower incomes cited sluggish sales this week as they decreased their annual forecasts. Macy’s, with a slightly higher-income clientele, did not meet analysts’ expectations for the first time in 25 quarters.

But even upper-income consumers do not seem to be spending as freely as some hoped. While Nordstrom’s, which reaches a middle-to-luxury-end market, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, it too said sales “remained softer than anticipated” and lowered its forecast.

The latest sales reports painted a bleak picture for a sizable swath of the retail sector even as other economic indicators, like an increase in auto loans, showed signs of consumer confidence.

“There is a certain segment of the population that is faring well in this economy and have seen their net worth rise sharply with stock and housing market gains,” said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. “Then there is the much larger segment of Americans that are working in low-wage jobs, part-time jobs, that are struggling to make ends meet and are living paycheck to paycheck. They are not spending beyond necessities.”

In a call with reporters Thursday, Walmart’s chief financial officer, Charles M. Holley Jr., said there was “a general reluctance of customers to spend on discretionary items right now.”

As the back-to-school season reaches its peak, some retailers are not optimistic that they could see a big revival among shoppers. “The expectations through the end of the year are really through the lens of the cautious consumer,” Mr. Holley said.

A few major factors have impeded progress for a lot of Americans as the country wades out of the recession. Job-market growth has been decent, but the jobs added have not.

“A lot of the gains have been in extremely low-paying sectors: retail, health care, temporary employment,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR. When it is not full-time work, he said, benefits are low to nonexistent.

“If you dig below the surface, it’s not that wonderful of a picture,” he said.

Retailers also singled out the payroll-tax increase as one reason consumers were feeling thrifty.

“If you’re making around $50,000 a year, that’s $40 a paycheck that our customer doesn’t have that they would’ve had last year” Mr. Holley said.

While retailers tend to offer excuses for missing quarterly results — good weather, bad weather, sporting events — economists agreed that the tax increase was affecting stores’ sales.

“In terms of people who are paycheck to paycheck, which is a good chunk of this country, and certainly a good chunk of lower-end retailers’ customers, it has a significant effect,” Mr. Shapiro said.

Other economic indicators, like the upswing in the housing and stock markets, have not meant much to low-income shoppers.

In the housing market, “first-time buyers, in particular, have been waning,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.

Mr. Shapiro said many sales are due to “speculative institutional demand,” not typical home buyers.

Teenagers, too, are having a rough time, as shown by a recent earnings report from Aeropostale and an earnings warning from American Eagle.

“Teenagers have not had jobs for a while, and have to compete with older workers, and the back-to-school market’s not looking terrific this year,” Ms. Swonk said. “It’s about the unevenness of the recovery across both age and income groups.”

For Wal-Mart Stores, profit increased by 1.3 percent, to $4.07 billion, for the quarter and sales rose 2.4 percent, to $116.2 billion, both missing analyst estimates. The key measure of same-store sales dropped 0.3 percent in the United States; analysts had expected a 0.7 percent increase.

The company’s international unit, which had until recently been growing at a fast clip, also turned in sluggish quarterly results, with sales growing 2.9 percent, to $33 billion.

“We’ve seen customers both in mature and emerging markets curb their spending,” said C. Douglas McMillon, chief executive of Wal-Mart International. “We believe that environment is going to remain through the end of the year.”

The company decreased its full-year guidance for net sales growth to 2 percent to 3 percent, from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Also, “somewhat uncharacteristically for Wal-Mart,” according to a Sanford Bernstein analyst, Colin McGranahan, the company lowered its annual earnings per share forecast, to $5.10 to $5.30 from a previously issued $5.20 to $5.40.

Nordstrom’s quarterly profit of $0.93 per share was above analyst expectations for $0.88 a share. But it, too, lowered its annual forecast, to $3.60 to $3.70 a share versus its earlier outlook of $3.65 to $3.80.

Kohl’s, which also reported results Thursday, said its quarterly profit fell 3.5 percent, and also lowered its annual earnings-per-share forecast, to $4.15 to $4.35, down from $4.15 to $4.45.

The results added to worries about the retail sector.

“We believe that much of our weakness is due to the health of the consumer,” Macy’s chief financial officer Karen Hoguet told analysts.

Macy’s on Wednesday lowered its annual forecast, to $3.80 to $3.90 a share from $3.90 to $3.95 a share.

“When we do see good things in the economy, sometimes they don’t immediately flow through to a paycheck. Remember how the average American lives,” said Mr. McMillon of Walmart.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/business/wal-mart-lowers-outlook-as-consumers-hold-back.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Little Movement on Wall Street

Wall Street stocks moved sharply higher on Wednesday as investors awaited a second round of testimony in Congress by the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, for clarity on the longevity of the Fed’s economic stimulus program.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index added 0.9 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1 percent in afternoon trading.

“Of course, Bernanke is in the spotlight again but I don’t expect him to vary from his comments from yesterday,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

A day earlier, Mr. Bernanke strongly defended the Fed’s monetary stimulus efforts before Congress. His comments eased worries in the financial markets over an early retreat from the Fed’s bond buying program, which had been triggered by minutes of the Fed’s January meeting released a week ago.

His remarks, along with data showing sales of new homes hit a four and a half year high, helped Wall Street stocks rebound Tuesday from their worst decline since November.

Up 6 percent for the year, the S.P. 500 was within reach of record highs a week ago, before the minutes from the Fed’s January meeting were released. Since then, the index has shed 1 percent.

In earnings news, Target posted a lower quarterly profit as sales of food and value-priced items only partially mitigated weakness in holiday spending. The stock fell 1.3 percent.

Dollar Tree reported a higher quarterly profit as the chain controlled costs and as consumer spending improved. The stock rose 10.2 percent.

In Europe, shares rose almost 2 percent, steadying after the previous session’s sharp losses, though jitters over the euro zone kept a lid on gains.

Italy’s 10-year debt costs rose more than half a percentage point at the first longer-term auction since an inconclusive parliamentary election, although they remained below the psychologically important level of 5 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Profit Slides 6% at Disney as Movie and TV Divisions Lag

ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Raleigh, N.C. Increasing costs at ESPN hurt Disney’s earnings.Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Raleigh, N.C. Increasing costs at ESPN hurt Disney’s earnings.

LOS ANGELES — Higher costs at ESPN and lower DVD sales resulted in a 6 percent decline in quarterly profit at Disney, the company said late Tuesday. But Disney’s video game and Web unit finally swung to a profit and the conglomerate steered attention toward potential “Star Wars” growth.

Wall Street reacted positively; Disney shares climbed 3 percent in after-hours trading, to about $56.

Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, told analysts in a conference call that Disney’s newly acquired Lucasfilm division is moving forward with “a few” additional movies that feature characters from the “Star Wars” universe.

Lawrence Kasdan, known for his work on “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” and Simon Kinberg, a screenwriter whose credits include “Sherlock Holmes,” are both working on the “stand-alone” films, Mr. Iger said. Disney has previously announced plans to make the seventh, eighth and ninth installments in the “Star Wars” saga; they will roll out over a six-year period starting in 2015 with one directed by J.J. Abrams.

Investors and analysts had been expecting a bumpy quarter. Disney made the unusual decision in November to note publicly some of its coming difficulties, like higher ESPN programming costs and a calendar quirk that would hurt theme parks by moving part of the New Year’s holiday into a different quarter.

Even so, Disney beat Wall Street estimates of 76 cents a share. For the quarter, which ended on Dec. 29, Disney reported net income of $1.38 billion, or 77 cents a share, down from $1.46 billion, or 80 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Excluding one-time charges and gains, Disney reported 79 cents a share for the most recent quarter, the first in the company’s fiscal year.

Revenue climbed 5 percent, to $11.34 billion.

ESPN had a significant impact on Disney’s quarter, with programming expenses increasing for football and basketball. Those costs held back results for Disney’s media networks unit, which houses the cable sports behemoth; operating income there increased a tepid 2 percent, to $1.21 billion. The growth came from the Disney Channel, ABC Family and higher ad sales at the ABC broadcast network.

Also dragging down quarterly results was Walt Disney Studios, which reported a 43 percent drop in operating income, to $234 million. The problem involved comparability: DVD sales for “Brave” and “Cinderella” were slight compared with disc releases in the same period a year earlier for “Cars 2” and “The Lion King.”

Theme parks continued to be a bright spot. Operating income in Disney’s parks and resorts division, watched as a barometer of the broader economy, increased 4 percent in the most recent quarter, to $577 million. Higher attendance at Disneyland Resort in California, where a “Cars”-themed area opened last summer, contributed to the growth, as did strong bookings on the company’s Fantasy cruise ship.

Interactive media, a business unit that includes video games and Disney.com, turned to an operating profit of $9 million after 16 consecutive quarters of losses. The company cited growth from Disney-branded cellphones in Japan as part of the reason. But Mr. Iger told analysts that there would most likely be losses ahead. “We know we have more work to do,” he said.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/costs-at-espn-depress-disney-profits/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Costs at ESPN Depress Disney Profits

LOS ANGELES – Higher costs at ESPN and lower DVD sales resulted in a 6 percent decline in quarterly profit at Disney, the company said on Tuesday. But Disney’s video game and Web unit finally swung to the black and the conglomerate steered attention toward potential future growth fueled by the “Star Wars” franchise.

Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, speaking on CNBC shortly after the market’s close, said that Disney’s newly acquired Lucasfilm division would produce “a few” additional movies in the coming years that feature characters and stories from the “Star Wars” universe.

Lawrence Kasdan, known for his work on “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” and Simon Kinberg, a screenwriter whose credits include “Sherlock Holmes,” are both working on the “stand-alone” films, Mr. Iger said. Disney has previously announced plans to make installments seven, eight and nine in the “Star Wars” saga over a six-year period starting in 2015.

Investors and analysts had been expecting a bumpy quarter. Disney made the unusual decision in November to note publicly some of its upcoming difficulties, like higher ESPN programming costs and a calendar quirk that would hurt theme parks by moving part of the New Year’s holiday into a different quarter.

Even so, Disney beat Wall Street estimates of 76 cents a share. For the quarter, which ended on Dec. 29, Disney reported net income of $1.38 billion, or 77 cents a share, down from $1.46 billion, or 80 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Excluding one-time charges and gains, Disney reported 79 cents a share for the most recent quarter, the first in the company’s fiscal year.

Revenue climbed 5 percent, to $11.3 billion.

ESPN had a significant impact on Disney’s quarter, with programming expenses increasing for football and basketball. Those costs held back results for Disney’s media networks unit, which houses the cable sports behemoth; operating income there increased a tepid 2 percent, to $1.21 billion. The growth came from Disney Channel, ABC Family and higher ad sales at the ABC broadcast network.

The biggest drag on Disney’s quarter, however, came from Walt Disney Studios, which reported a 43 percent drop in operating income, to $234 million. The problem involved comparability: DVD sales for “Brave” and “Cinderella” were slight compared with disc releases in the same period a year earlier, notably “Cars 2” and “The Lion King.”

Theme parks continued to be a bright spot. Operating income in Disney’s parks and resorts division, watched as a barometer of the broader economy, increased 4 percent in the most recent quarter, to $577 million. Higher attendance at Disneyland Resort in California, where a “Cars”-themed area opened last summer, contributed to the growth, as did strong bookings on the company’s Fantasy cruise ship.

Interactive media, a business unit that includes video games and Disney.com, swung to an operating profit of $9 million after 16 consecutive quarters of losses. The company cited growth from Disney-branded cellphones in Japan as part of the reason.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/costs-at-espn-depress-disney-profits/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks Push Higher

Stock climbed in New York on Friday, buoyed by rosy earnings from Procter Gamble amid a backdrop of sturdy corporate results. But continued erosion in the share price of Apple meant it was no longer the most valuable American company by market value.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index climbed 0.3 percent in afternoon trading. The S.P. 500 was poised for an eighth day of gains, its longest winning streak in eight years. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent.

The equity market was also bolstered by agreement in Washington to extend the government’s borrowing power through mid-May, encouraging signs of recovery in the global economy, solid corporate earnings and seasonal inflows into stocks.

Those factors helped the S.P. 500 rally for a seventh day on Thursday to a five-year peak. Still, the index struggled to climb convincingly above 1,500 points, a level it surpassed briefly Thursday for the first time since December 2007.

“We are seeing a very broad-based rally, and the ingredients are still in place” for gains to continue, said Steve Goldman, principal at Goldman Management in Short Hills, N.J. “This is the liftoff phase and it’s still significant.”

In midday trading, Apple stock fell to $443.92, down 1.5 percent, returning the crown of most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.

Procter Gamble, the world’s top household products maker, said quarterly profit soared past expectations and raised its sales and earnings outlook for the fiscal year. Shares were up 3.5 percent.

Pointing to a rotation out of bonds, 30-year Treasury bonds traded more than a point lower in price on Friday, with yields touching session highs at 3.10 percent.

“You have had more confidence from fund managers to provide more allocations to equity markets,” which looked more attractive than bonds or cash, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management.

Recent company earnings have been encouraging. Thomson Reuters data through early Thursday showed that of the 133 S.P. 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 66.9 percent exceeded expectations, more than the 65 percent average over the last four quarters.

German business morale improved for a third consecutive month in January to its highest in more than half a year, but Britain’s economy shrank 0.3 percent at the end of 2012, pushing it perilously close to slipping into recession for a third time since 2008.

European stock markets were up moderately. The DAX in Germany gained 1.3 percent and the CAC 40 in France added 0.7 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Nokia Reports Profit but Fails to Soothe Investors

The company, based in Espoo, Finland, said it had a profit of €202 million, or $269 million, in the three months through December, after a loss of €1.1 billion a year earlier. Sales fell 20 percent, to €8 billion from €10 billion, as it phased out an older line of smartphones that used the Symbian operating system.

The company’s shares fell 5.5 percent in trading in Helsinki, closing at €3.30, as Nokia announced that it would not pay a dividend for 2012, which would save the company about €750 million. It was the first time Nokia had not paid a dividend in recent memory, according to the company.

Mats Nystrom, an analyst at SEB Enskilda Bank in Stockholm, said that Nokia had raised investor hopes this month when it said it would report a quarterly profit, but that the company had not met those expectations with results that showed less-than-expected growth in the average selling price of the Lumia smartphone line and falling cellphone prices.

“I still think it is far from a certainty that this turnaround will be a success,” Mr. Nystrom said.

During a conference call with journalists, the Nokia chief executive, Stephen Elop, challenged that notion, saying the company had successfully eliminated investor concerns about its future. Nokia’s net cash on hand at the end of December, bolstered by the decision to forgo a dividend payment, rose to €4.4 billion from €3.6 billion in September.

“For investors, it was a solid quarter in which we removed concerns about our cash situation,” said Mr. Elop, a former senior executive at Microsoft. Over the past year, he has closed factories across Europe and eliminated 16,500 workers from Nokia’s phone business.

The quarterly net profit was the first since Nokia announced its alliance with Microsoft in February 2011, which set off a turbulent transition that led to about €5 billion in combined losses, the laying off of a third of the company’s work force and a steep decline in its market share in smartphones, the industry’s defining segment.

While sales of Nokia’s new Lumia line, which uses the Microsoft Windows Phone operating system, are accelerating, to 4.4 million units in the fourth quarter from 2.9 million in the third, the company remains a distant challenger to the industry leaders, Apple and Google, whose Android operating system is now running nearly two-thirds of all new smartphones sold around the world.

Apple sold more than 10 times the number of iPhones during the fourth quarter, 47.8 million, and sales of Android smartphones, according to International Data Corp., reached 136 million in the third quarter. But as the largest maker of smartphones running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8, Nokia can build on its gains.

“This is really the time now for Nokia to put up results,” said Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst for International Data Corp. in London. “They are almost exclusively out there with Windows 8, and Microsoft is strongly promoting the operating system. There can be no more excuses now.”

In North America, Nokia increased its sales of cellphones by 40 percent in the fourth quarter to 700,000 units, up from 500,000 in the third quarter. Mr. Jeronimo said those results were weak considering the sizable marketing investment in the United States and Canada by Nokia and Microsoft on Windows 8.

Nokia’s share price has fallen by more than half during its software alliance with Microsoft. The shares have risen about 12 percent this year.

In the fourth quarter, Nokia’s profit was fueled by continued cost-cutting and the introduction of the Lumia 820 and 920 smartphones running Windows Phone 8.

The new handsets helped Nokia raise the average selling price of Lumia phones in the quarter to €186, up 33 percent from €140 in the quarter a year earlier. But the average price of Nokia’s basic cellphones, which still make up almost two-thirds of its total phone sales, fell 3 percent, to €31 from €32.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/technology/nokia-shows-a-profit-but-shares-drop.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Cable Networks Help Time Warner’s Quarterly Profit

“Revolution,” a popular NBC show, was produced by Warner Brothers, a Time Warner unit.Brownie Harris/NBC “Revolution,” a popular NBC show, was produced by Warner Brothers, a Time Warner unit.

A strong quarter at Time Warner’s suite of cable channels contributed to a 1.9 percent increase in net profit for the third quarter, but revenue was offset by continued weakness at its magazine and movie divisions.

On Wednesday, Time Warner reported net income of $838 million, or 86 cents a share, compared with $822 million, or 78 cents a share, in the period last year. Revenue at the company fell 3 percent, to $6.84 billion.

The company’s networks division, which includes cable channels like TNT, TBS and HBO, reported its strongest quarter ever, with $1.22 billion in operating income, a 12 percent increase from 2011.

Revenue at the division grew 4 percent, to $3.34 billion, largely because of an increase in subscription revenue and in the number of subscribers to HBO.

Jeffrey L. Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner, called the networks business the “highlight” of the quarter and said the strength of the cable channels “illustrates that our investments in content and technology are paying off.”

He pointed out that while NBC was being praised for its ratings turnaround in the fall season, most of the shows that have contributed to its success came from Time Warner’s Warner Brothers studio.

“The overall story is that the top two nonsports shows on NBC, ‘The Voice’ and ‘Revolution,’ are Warner productions,” Mr. Bewkes said.

One continued albatross for Time Warner is its CNN cable news channel, whose ratings have declined in recent months. But Mr. Bewkes praised the channel’s coverage of the presidential election and said it benefited from the political season. “CNN won the night last night,” Mr. Bewkes said in a conference call with analysts.

The third-quarter results for Time Warner show the same gap between divisions that exists at other major media conglomerates, including News Corporation.

Cable television remains a strong and lucrative business for these companies, while legacy publishing units continue to lag.

Ratings at TBS were up 35 percent in prime time for viewers aged 18 to 49, for example, while at subscription revenue at Time Inc. fell 6 percent and its advertising revenue fell 5 percent.

Overall revenue fell 6 percent, to $838 million at Time Inc., the publisher of People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly among other magazines. Operating income at Time Inc. increased by 2 percent, to $126 million, largely because of cost-cutting.

The company’s Warner Brothers studio also had a sluggish quarter, mostly because of comparisons to the three-month period last year, which included revenue from hits like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and syndication revenue from “The Big Bang Theory.” Revenue at the film and television division fell 12 percent, to $2.9 billion, and operating income fell 37 percent, to $328 million.

Mr. Bewkes was bullish on the studio’s coming movie “The Hobbit” and said word-of-mouth had helped the suspense thriller “Argo” deliver solid box-office results. “Over all, I’m very confident about how we’re positioned heading into the next year and beyond,” he said.


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 7, 2012

An earlier version of this post carried an incorrect byline. The post was written by Amy Chozick, not Amy Harmon.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/cable-networks-help-time-warners-quarterly-profit/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Buoyed by ‘Avengers,’ Disney Profit Surges 24 Percent

LOS ANGELES — The success of the film “Marvel’s The Avengers” and the “Cars”-related expansion of a theme park powered the Walt Disney Company to a 24 percent increase in quarterly profit, well ahead of expectations, the company reported Tuesday.

Disney, with operations ranging from movies to hotels to baby clothes, is closely watched as a barometer of consumer confidence. Lately, however, that correlation has seemed out of alignment. Why is Disney surging when the frail economy has people keeping a lid on discretionary spending?

The answer may be that consumers simply see Disney’s recent offerings (with a few notable exceptions) as attractive ways to spend their money.

Many people grumble that Disney’s parks are expensive, but they also seem to see the value. Attendance was strong in the quarter at both Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and at Disney’s California Adventure park in Anaheim, Calif., where a lavish “Cars”-themed parcel recently opened as part of a $1.1 billion overhaul. Disney said per capita guest spending at its domestic resorts increased 8 percent. Add in strong bookings for a new cruise ship and a return to normal at Tokyo Disney Resort after last year’s earthquake, and operating income at Disney’s parks unit rose 21 percent, to $630 million.

Similarly, “The Avengers” has taken in over $1.5 billion at the global box office, in part because that superhero film prompted consumers to pay more — $3 to $5 more per ticket — to see it in 3-D. For the quarter ended June 30, Walt Disney Studios reported operating income of $313 million, an increase from $49 million a year earlier. Disney announced on Tuesday that Joss Whedon, who directed “The Avengers,” would return for a sequel and help develop a Marvel-related property for the company’s ABC broadcast network.

Fans were also shopping briskly during the quarter at Disney’s mall-based retail stores, where “Avengers”-themed merchandise and new locations helped the company’s consumer products division report a 35 percent increase in operating income, to $209 million.

Disney’s long-suffering Internet division even looked healthier, improving to a loss of $42 million, compared with a loss of $86 million in the same period a year ago, mainly because of increased traction in social games. (Disney told analysts that the coming quarter might be more difficult, however, because of the release of fewer console games.)

Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, called the results “phenomenal” in a statement, adding that the totals were “the largest quarterly earnings in the history of our company.” Disney had net income of $1.83 billion, or $1.01 a share, compared with $1.48 billion, or 77 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had been expecting income of 93 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter, the third in the company’s fiscal year, climbed 4 percent, to $11.09 billion, held down because of a timing shift in the recognition of ESPN-related affiliate fees. At Media Networks, the Disney unit that includes ESPN, ABC and cable channels like ABC Family, operating income climbed 2 percent, to $2.13 billion. ESPN did suffer higher production costs tied to a shift in timing for National Basketball Association games and higher rates for N.B.A. and Major League Baseball programming.

In recent years, some analysts have questioned Disney’s high level of capital and acquisition spending, citing global economic weakness. But the most recent quarter offered a strong endorsement of the investment strategy set by Mr. Iger.

“The Avengers” was made by Marvel Entertainment, which Disney acquired in 2009 for $4 billion. Cars Land cost about $450 million, but it seems to have turned around California Adventure, a park that languished for a decade because of underinvestment by Mr. Iger’s predecessor.


Brooks Barnes writes about Hollywood with an emphasis on Disney. Follow @brooksbarnesnyt on Twitter.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/disney-profit-rises-24-aided-by-avengers-and-a-theme-park-expansion/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Business Briefing | Company News: Weyerhaeuser Earnings Meet Expectations

Weyerhaeuser, the forest products maker and homebuilder, reported quarterly profit that matched Wall Street’s expectations, but the company warned that the United States housing market remained challenging and that China demand was slowing. For the third quarter, the company posted net income of $157 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $1.12 billion, or $3.50 a share, a year ago. Sales rose 3.6 percent to $1.56 billion. Shares of Weyerhaeuser rose 2 percent, to $18.30.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=938f15e440ff97899616446c1fbfd8a8

Merck Profit Beats Forecast on Impressive Sales

(Reuters) – Merck Co’s quarterly profit and sales beat forecasts as strong demand for the company’s diabetes and asthma drugs offset a sharp decline for its Remicade arthritis drug.

The No. 2 U.S. drugmaker said on Friday it earned $1.69 billion, or 55 cents per share, in the third quarter. That compared with $342 million, or 11 cents per share, in the year-ago period, when the company took several big charges.

Excluding special items, Merck earned 94 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 91 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global revenue rose 8 percent to $12.02 billion, topping Wall Street expectations of $11.61 billion.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Derek Caney)

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=21ac1327165d2877db398a120cd62bda