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Wednesday November 26, 2014

Finances

Finances
 

Williams-Sonoma’s Earnings Impress

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) reported its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday, November 19. The report showed healthy earnings for the quarter.

Williams-Sonoma reported revenue of $1.14 billion for the quarter. This represents an increase over the same period last year when the company reported revenue of $1.05 billion.

“Solid performance across our brands allowed us to deliver these results with revenue growth of 8.7%, operating margin expansion, and earnings per share growth of 17.2%,” said Laura Alber, CEO of Williams-Sonoma. “These achievements reflect our product leadership, lifestyle merchandising, iconic brands and strong execution. We believe that this third quarter further demonstrates that our multi-channel model, with more than 51% revenues now coming from the e-commerce channel, represents a distinct competitive advantage. We continue to focus on serving our customers and investing for sustainable long-term growth.”

The company reported net earnings of $65.91 million. This represents an increase of 14.4% over the comparable period last year when Williams-Sonoma reported net earnings of $56.72 million.

Williams-Sonoma held free cooking technique classes during the month of November that focused on the Thanksgiving holiday. Past classes included information on planning the Thanksgiving menu, cooking the turkey and preparing side dishes. For those interested in learning about Thanksgiving desserts Williams-Sonoma is having a final free techniques class on Sunday and Monday November 23 and 24 at select stores.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) shares finished the week at $73.97, up 6.25% for the week.

Target Hits the Mark


Target Corporation (TGT) reported its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday, November 19. The company’s earnings show a better-than-expected increase in sales.

Target reported net sales of $17.73 billion for the quarter. This represents an increase of 2.8% from the same period last year when the company reported net sales of $17.26 billion.

“We’re pleased with our third quarter financial results, which were driven by better-than-expected performance in our U.S. Segment,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target. “We’re encouraged by the improving trend we’ve seen in our U.S. business throughout the year, and our fourth quarter plans are designed to sustain this momentum. In Canada, we’ve made improvements to our operations, pricing and assortment in time for the holiday season, and we’re eager to measure how our guests respond.”

The company reported quarterly net income of $352 million. This represents an increase of 3.1% from the same period last year when Target reported net income of $341 million. Earnings per share came in at $0.55 per share.

Target’s former CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, was replaced by Brian Cornell in July of this year after a serious security breach and a difficult rollout of Target stores in Canada. However, the company reported an unexpected sales increase this quarter driven by a 30% increase in online sales. This better-than-expected sales figure caused the price of Target stock to rise 7.4% after the earnings announcement. The increase in sales, though positive, is not Target’s main concern. Target’s main problem is a decline in store traffic. The number of shopper transactions in the U.S. has been declining for two consecutive years. “We need to get to a place where we continue to grow traffic in our stores,” Target CFO John Mulligan said.

Target Corporation (TGT) shares finished the week at $71.51, up 5.82% for the week.

Intuit Earnings Meet Expectations


Intuit, Inc. (INTU), provider of financial and management solutions, reported its latest quarterly earnings on Thursday, November 20. The company’s earnings were in line with the company’s expectations for the quarter.

Intuit reported quarterly revenue of $672 million. This represents a slight increase over the same period last year when the company reported total revenue of $622 million.

“We begin fiscal 2015 on a strong note,” said Brad Smith, Intuit’s President and CEO. “Our shift to the cloud continues to accelerate customer growth, led by QuickBooks Online. We’re also gearing up for tax season and are looking forward to our lineup of innovative solutions coming to market.”

The company reported a net loss of $84 million for the quarter. This represents a larger loss than was reported during the comparable period last year when the company reported a net loss of $11 million.

Just within the past few years, Intuit added online versions of its most popular software including QuickBooks and TurboTax. The total number of subscribers to Intuit’s online software has been increasing steadily. During the latest quarter the company added 56,000 new users. Much of Intuit’s future success will depend on the popularity of its cloud software offerings.

Intuit, Inc. (INTU) shares finished the week at $91.72, up 1.11% for the week.

The Dow started the week of 11/17 at 17,632 and closed at 17,810 on 11/21. The S&P 500 started the week at 2,038 and closed at 2,064. The NASDAQ started the week at 4,678 and closed at 4,713.
 

Bond Yields Fall Slightly

Treasury prices increased and yields fell this week on signs of weak economic growth in Europe and Asia. The growing unease abroad brought investor dollars to relatively high yield U.S. Government bonds.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is lowering its one year deposit rate and one year lending rate from 3% and 6% to 2.75% and 5.6%, respectively. This comes as economic growth in China dropped to a five year low last quarter. Between June and October the PBOC has infused over $280 billion into China’s economy in its own attempt at quantitative easing.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is buying asset backed securities and covered bonds in an attempt to spur sluggish economic growth and raise inflation. The European Commission has said that it expects the economies in the 28-country European Union to grow at a pace of 0.8% in 2014. ECB President Mario Draghi has said that purchasing sovereign bonds is an option if growth continues to stagnate.

In addition to slowing growth in Europe and Asia, sovereign-bond yields in both France and Ireland hit record lows and the spread between U.S. Treasury yields and German bund yields widened to 1.55%. “If you look at the spread differential between 10-year bunds and Treasuries, we’ve gotten back to extreme levels,” said Larry Milstein, Managing Director of Government-Debt Trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co. “That’s really what’s pulling us lower in yield.”

This economic news abroad caused U.S. Treasury prices to rise and yields to fall. The 10-year yield fell two basis points to 2.32%. The 30-year yield declined two basis points to 3.03%.

The 10-year Treasury note yield finished the week of 11/17 at 2.32% while the 30-year Treasury note yield finished the week at 3.02%.
 

Interest Rates Fall

Freddie Mac released the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) on Thursday, November 20. The results showed that average fixed mortgage rates fell this week compared to last week.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.99% this week. This represents a decrease from last week when it averaged 4.01%. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.22% this time last year.

This week, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.17%. This represents a decrease from last week when it averaged 3.20%. One year ago, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.02%.

“Fixed mortgage rates were slightly down as housing starts decline 2.8% in October below the upwardly revised September rate,” said Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “However, building permits increased 4.8% in October after a 2.8% boost a month earlier. Lastly, industrial production slipped by 0.1% in October, below the market consensus forecast.”

The money market fund finished the week of 11/17 at 0.4%. The 1-year CD finished at 0.7%.

Published November 21, 2014
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