Nike released better-than-expected results on Thursday after the group surpassed expectations for both earnings and revenues. During the 4th quarter, the group saw revenues grow by 5.3% to $8.68bn, slightly higher than estimates of an increase to $8.63bn. Overall, net income for the period increased to $1bn, or 60 cents per share, up from $846mn, or 49 cents per share, a year ago. This uptick was mainly attributed to the increase in global revenue growth, lower selling and administrative expenses and a lower tax rate. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share stood at 60 cents, sharply higher than estimates of 50 cents.
Monsanto reported better-than-expected results, with the group easily surpassing expectations for both revenues and earnings. In its fiscal 3rd quarter, the US-based seeds and agrochemicals company saw revenues come in at $4.23bn, slightly higher than estimates of $4.09bn. This uptick in revenue was mainly attributed to a 29.3% surge in revenue from sales of soybean seed and traits to $896mn. Furthermore, net income attributable to shareholders increased by 17.6% to $843mn, or $1.90 per share, up from $717mn, or $1.63 per share, a year ago. Excluding certain items, earnings stood at $1.93 per share, beating expectations of $1.76 per share.
On Tuesday, European Union (EU) antitrust regulators charged Alphabet’s Google with a record €2.42bn fine. This comes after the European Commission found that Google had given prominent placement in searches to its own shopping service, while demoting those of rival services. As a result, the European Commission ordered Google to stop this practice within 90 days or face a further penalty of up to 5% of Alphabet’s average daily global turnover. This outcome was only the first of three investigations into Google’s conduct, with the group also accused of using its Android operating system to destroy rivals as well as blocking rivals in online search advertising.
On Monday a top executive from General Motors stated the group now expects US new vehicle sales to come in just above 17mn for 2017. This comes after the group saw US new vehicle sales reach a record high of 17.55mn vehicles in 2016. Previously, GM had stated it was expecting new vehicle sales to come in around the 17.5mn unit range, but this estimate has now been cut by between 200,000 and 300,000 units. Sales for the current year, which have already shown declines in the past three months, are expected to be weighed down by challenging pricing as well as a glut of nearly-new used vehicles.
BlackBerry slumped 12.21% after releasing mixed results on Friday. The group’s revenues came in below expectations, while its earnings surpassed estimates. In its fiscal first quarter, the group recorded revenues of $244mn, lower than expectations of $264.4mn. This worse-than-expected figure was mainly attributed to a drop in its enterprise software and services revenues to $101mn, down from $106mn a year ago. However, despite its poor revenue figures, BlackBerry did report a surprise net profit of $671mn, or $1.23 per share, up from the loss of $670mn, or $1.28 per share, reported a year ago. Adjusted earnings came in at $0.02 per share, beating estimates of $0.00 per share.
Reports surfaced on Thursday that American Airlines CEO, Doug Parker, was less than excited about the recent proposal from Qatar Airways. In a regulatory filing, Qatar Airways stated it would potentially make an investment worth at least $808mn in return for a 10% stake. This would put it on par with Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. Parker claims this proposal “makes no sense” and cannot see a reason for Qatar to become a large but passive investor in the airline. As it stands, the Middle East’s second largest airline already owns 20% of British Airways’ owner, International Airlines Group, as well as a 10% stake in South America’s LATAM. The move comes as Qatar Airways seeks to expand and increase its investments in North America, given that Qatar is currently embroiled in its worst diplomatic crisis in years.
Oracle released better-than-expected results on Wednesday, with the group surpassing estimates for both earnings and revenue. In its fourth quarter results, Oracle saw revenues come in at $10.9bn, higher than expectations of $10.46bn. This uptick was partly due to a 75% increase in non-GAAP Software as a Service (SaaS) revenue to $1bn. In addition, this hyper growth helped the group to expand its operating margins. In return, Oracle reported net income of $3.23bn, or 76 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, earnings came in at 89 cents per share, easily beating estimates of 78 cents per share.
News reports surfaced yesterday that Twenty-First Century Fox will find out by the 29th of June whether the group’s takeover of UK-based Sky will be allowed. This comes after the group, which is mostly owned by Rupert Murdoch, offered $14.8bn to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own. On Tuesday, two regulators submitted their findings to the UK government amid concerns the combined group would have too much control of the UK media. Regulator Ofcom will also examine whether executives at Fox are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a broadcasting license.
Sibanye Gold shed 2.04% yesterday to close at R15.82 per share, with gold mining shares still reeling from the release of the new Mining Charter late last week. Despite the decline, the group released a SENS confirming it had secured a two year wage agreement with the United Steel Workers of America, International Union, which is the representative union at its Stillwater operations in Montana, USA. In terms of the agreement there will be a 2% general wage increase for all job categories effective from 2 June 2017 to 1 January 2018, with a further 1% increase effective from 1 January 2018 to 1 June 2018 as well as a 2% increase during the next year.
Peregrine shares added 4% after the group released its results for the year ended 31 March 2017. During the period, normalised operating revenue decreased by 8% to R2.33bn, down from R2.52bn a year ago. Furthermore, profit attributable to shareholders declined by 13% to R490mn, while basic earnings per share dropped by the same margin to 236.9 cents, down from the 275.9 cents recorded previously. Headline earnings per share came in at 230 cents, 17% lower than the 275.8 cents reported in 2016. The board opted to declare a final dividend of 155 cents per share, unchanged from the dividend declared in the previous corresponding period. The optimism around the stock most likely came from the announcement of the potential division of the operating business form the investment business. The investment business would be listed separately later this year and represent a significant value unlock for shareholders.