Apple Up 7% on Earnings Beat, Strong Guidance
Share of Apple Inc. jumped 7% in extended trading Monday after the company posted FQ4 earnings per share and revenue that were ahead of analyst consensus estimates and the company's forecasts, boosted by unprecented demand for Macintosh computers, a new line of iPods, and strong iPhone sales. Net earnings were $904 million ($1.01/share) on revenue of $6.22 billion, up 67% from $546 million ($0.62/share) on revenue of $4.84 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by Reuters were looking for earnings of $0.85/share on revenue of $6.06 billion. The company, notorious for its soft guidance, gave stronger-than-expected FQ1 guidance of revenue of about $9.2 billion and earnings per share of about $1.42 (full earnings call transcript); consensus estimates for next quarter had been $1.39/share on $8.6 billion in revenue. It said it ended its fiscal year with $15.4 billion in cash and no debt. "The guidance was extremely strong, well north of consensus. It appears that they are expecting an extremely solid holiday shopping season and, I would guess, strength from the launch of the iPhone in Europe," said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross. Shares of sole iPhone telecom carrier AT&T gained more than 1% on the report. Apple said it shipped 2.16 million Macs in the quarter, a 34% jump over the year-ago quarter, and smashing a previous quarterly record by 400,000. It sold 10.2 million iPods (+17%), and 1.12 million iPhones, putting much-watched cumulative iPhone sales at 1,389,000. Analysts had expected Mac sales of 1.9-2.1 million, iPhone sales of 900,000 to 1.2 million, and iPod sales of 10.5-11 million, according to Reuters.
Commentary: Monday's Options Report: Apple • Leopard to Launch Jobs's 'Post PC World' • iPhone Builds Huge Lead in Customer Satisfaction
Stocks to watch: AAPL, T. Competitors: IBM, DELL, MOT, RIMM, NOK, MSFT
Earnings call transcript: Apple F4Q07
Apple to Open 40 Stores in 2008; Sees Continued Low Memory Prices
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Monday the company plans to open 40 new stores over the coming year, including its first China outlet. During Apple's earnings conference call (full transcript), Oppenheimer noted the company opened 12 stores during the current quarter, and now operates 197 stores, which were responsible for $1.25 billion of Apple's $6.22 billion in quarterly revenue, representing 42% year-over-year growth. The stores sold 473,000 Macs, he said, and over 50% of customers buying Macs in Apple stores were new to the Mac. Oppenheimer cautioned that FQ1 may see sequentially lower sales, given the success of the company's back-to-school promotion which intensified sales in FQ4. COO Tim Cook said during the call Apple expects continued low memory prices over the coming quarter, a factor Cook noted was in part responsible for Apple's improving gross margins: "As you know, DRAM and NAND flash were favorable last quarter, and we believe that will continue in our Q1," he said. Cook also said Apple is confident it will ship 10 million iPhones in calendar year 2008. Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff asked Oppenheimer about the company's unusually strong guidance. "Andy, I give you guidance each quarter that we believe we have a reasonable chance of achieving," he replied.
Commentary: Apple Up 7% on FQ4 Earnings Beat • Apple: Falling Flash Memory Prices Should Help Gross Margins • Apple: Gross Margin Upside From Falling Flash, DRAM Pricing
Stocks to watch: AAPL. Competitors: IBM, DELL, MOT, RIMM, NOK, MSFT
Earnings call transcript: Apple F4Q07
Texas Instruments Beats, Guides Down
Shares of chipmaker Texas Instruments fell more than 3% in extended trading Monday after the firm posted estimate-beating earnings per share and revenue, but said it expected Q4 revenue and earnings to come in lower than had been expected (full earnings call transcript). Texas Instruments said that for Q4 2007 it expects total revenue in the range of $3.40 billion to $3.68 billion and EPS of $0.48 to $0.54; analysts polled by Reuters had been on average expecting the company to report revenue of $3.71 billion and EPS of $0.50. For Q3, TI said it earned $776 million ($0.52/share) on revenue of $3.66 billion, vs. $702 million ($0.45/share) on revenue of $3.8 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected the company to post earnings per share of $0.50 on revenue of $3.66 billion. "Our investments in analog technology have led to broader and deeper engagements with customers... This part of our business, which delivers about 40% of our revenue, grew 10% sequentially," CEO Rich Templeton said. In an Oct. 9 research note, Bear Stearns told investors it believes the Street is "too focused on TI’s share loss in wireless and not fully appreciating the potential upside in its HPA (high-performance analog) business... We believe that the upside in TI’s high-margin HPA business will more than compensate for the share loss in its low-margin wireless business." TI said it bought back $1.4 billion in shares during the quarter.
Commentary: Consolidation Dynamics Of The DSL Market • Cash-Rich Companies: Watch Out for the Siren’s Song
Stocks to watch: TXN. Competitors: QCOM, STM, INTC, AMAT. ETFs: SMH, IGW, PSI
Earnings call transcript: Texas Instruments Q3 2007
Lexmark Beats, Announces Restructuring
Lexmark International reported a 47% drop in third-quarter net income to $45.2 million, or $0.48/share ($0.60/share on an adjusted basis), as sales declined 3% to $1.24B. Both figures beat analyst expectations of $0.13/share on sales of $1.19B. In a statement, CEO Paul J. Curlander said despite Q3 EPS being better than expected, the significant difference in y/y EPS reflects the "continuation of a very challenging situation in our consumer market segment" (full earnings call transcript later today). In order to improve its cost and expense structure, Lexmark announced a restructuring plan which includes closing a manufacturing facility in Mexico and further consolidation of global activities in lower-cost regions. The company plans to relocate 1,650 jobs to lower-cost countries and forecasts total cost savings of around $40M in 2008 and $60M annually thereafter. Lexmark will take pretax charges of $20M in 2007 and $70M in 2008. Lexmark said it expects Q4 EPS of $0.32 to $0.42, or $0.50 excluding restructuring charges, compared to analysts' average estimate of $0.40. Shares of Lexmark rose 3.3% to $43.74 on Monday and were last up 6.3% to $46.50 in very thin pre-market trading.
Commentary: Lexmark Jumps on Dell Buyout Rumor • Is Lexmark A Dell Target Or A Potential Casualty? • Bernstein Grants Lexmark Its Sole "Buy" Rating
Stocks to watch: LXK. Competitors: HPQ, CAJ, EK
Slumping Sales to Slam THQ
THQ Inc. on Monday slashed its sales outlook and said it would report a loss for the second quarter while lowering its view for the rest of the year amid softer-than-expected sales of two of its video games and plans to delay the release of certain other games. "We are disappointed that our latest editions of Juiced and Stuntman did not perform to expectations," said CEO Brian Farrell. "Because of THQ's commitment to delivering quality products, we have moved the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Destroy All Humans!, and the PS3 version of Frontlines into fiscal 2009. We believe the additional time will enable us to create the best products for our customers." Against that backdrop, THQ said it now expects a second-quarter loss of $0.11/share, or $0.03/share excluding items, on sales of $229M, down from its previous guidance for earnings of $0.10/share on sales of $240M. Looking ahead, it sees earnings of $0.61/share ($0.67 adjusted) on sales of $490M for the third quarter and $0.19/share ($0.25 adj.) on sales of $240M for the fourth quarter. For the year, it expects to report earnings of $0.56/share, or $0.08 excluding items, on sales of about $1.06B, down from its prior outlook for profit of $1.34-$1.44 on sales of $1.12B-$1.5B. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $0.10/share excluding items on sales of $237M for Q2, earnings of $1.02 on sales of $521.4M for Q3 and earnings of $1.36 on sales of $1.13B for the fiscal year. Share fell 3.5% to $23.05 in extended trading Monday.
Commentary: UBS Downgrades THQ On Weak Sales Of New Titles • Citigroup, Credit Suisse Get Bullish On Video Games
Stocks to watch: THQI. Competitors: ATVI, ERTS. ETFs: IGV
Earnings call transcript: THQ F1Q08 (Qtr End 6/30/07)
Dell to Sell PCs in Staples
Dell said Monday it will soon begin selling its PCs at Staples Inc.'s retail stores. The announcement marks Dell's second major deal with a retail chain to sell its PCs, after it already announced a similar deal with Wal-Mart earlier this year. Recently, Dell has begun partially changing course from its classic model of direct customized purchases though phone and internet. "We know our customers will appreciate the ability to see, touch and immediately take Dell products to the home or office," said CEO Michael Dell. Though Dell remains the top PC seller in the U.S., the company has lost ground overall to rival Hewlett-Packard, who leads the industry with 19% of the worldwide market share, compared to Dell's 14%. When Dell computers begin selling in Staples, the number of retail stores carrying Dell products will increase to 10,000. Shares of Dell were up 0.9% to $28.18, while Staples's shares jumped 3.4% to $22.28 on the news in midday trading Monday.
Commentary: Staples: Accelerating Growth in a Decelerating Market • HP Extends Lead Over Dell in PC Sales • The End of Dell Hell?
Stocks to watch: DELL, SPLS, HPQ. ETFs: IAH
Earnings call transcript: Dell Q2 2007 , Staples Q2 2007
Microsoft Comes to Terms With EU
Microsoft announced it would no longer appeal anti-trust rulings by the European Commission on Monday. The new regulations will make it much easier for rival software firms to use Microsoft technology to develop Windows-compatible software. Microsoft will now license all of its intellectual property, besides patents, needed for competitors to work with a version of Windows used by business servers. Competitors will pay a one-time fee of €10,000, instead of royalties. If competitors want to use Microsoft patents, it will cost them 0.4% of their revenue, far below the 5.95% Microsoft originally suggested. "The repercussions of these changes will start now and will continue for years to come," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. She called the agreement a "victory for the consumer." Buyers in the EU will now have alternatives to Microsoft products, while knowing that those alternatives will be fully operational on Windows. Microsoft, which has been fined about 900 million euros over the last two years, now awaits a decision on how much it owes for other rulings over the last year. The company has set aside €1.6 billion to cover all fines. Microsoft traded 1.1% higher Monday.
Commentary: Google vs. Microsoft: Crossing the Blue-Ocean, Red-Ocean Divide • Goldman Sachs: Microsoft a 'Buy'
Stocks to watch: MSFT. Competitors: IBM, GOOG. ETFs: DGT, IVG. Earnings call transcript: Microsoft F4Q07
Netflix Soars on Upside Surprise
Shares of Netflix Inc. soared in extended trading Monday after the internet video rental company said Q3 profit jumped an unexpected 23% on strong subscriber growth. Net earnings were $15.7 million ($0.23/share) on revenue of $294 million, up $12.8 million ($0.18/share) on revenue of $256 million a year ago. Analysts were expecting EPS of $0.15 $286 million in revenue. "In the third quarter, we remained focused on the fundamentals: improving our service quality and value for our subscribers. Our results today exceeded our guidance for all of our key metrics -- subscriber growth, revenue and net income," CEO Reed Hastings told investors in a press release (full earnings call transcript). Net customers were up 24% to 7 million. For the full year, Netflix estimated 7.3 million to 7.5 million subscribers, up from a previous forecast of 6.8 million to 7.3 million. Revenue guidance was boosted to $1.2 billion to $1.205 billion, up from $1.17 billion to $1.185 billion. Netflix shares are up 13% to $26.
Commentary: Netflix, Blockbuster To Grab Spoils From Movie Gallery's Demise • Wouldn't Touch Blockbuster With A Ten-Foot Pole • Netflix: Shares May Rally Now, But Brand Value Eroding
Stocks to watch: NFLX
Earnings call transcript: Netflix Q3 2007
MySpace to Add Casual Games - WSJ
The Wall Street Journal reports MySpace, the online social networking site owned by News Corp., is expected to announce a deal with privately held New York-based Oberon, to distribute free "casual" games to the network. Current Oberon partners include Comcast, Microsoft and Yahoo!. MySpace has been struggling to match the buzz and rapid growth at rival Facebook, where third-party applications have been available for months. Amit Kapur, VP of business development at MySpace, commented, "This was a very clear area for us that answered a need for enhancing the fun factor on MySpace." One analyst categorized the addition of games to MySpace's other offerings including music, video, instant messaging and VoIP via Skype as a "portalization" of social networking, as MySpace looks to turn its social network into a portal of sorts, in its struggle to better monetize its network, which is reportedly set to make less than $750M this year, despite having more than 110M registered users. As for "casual" online games, estimates cited in the Journal say related revenues totaled $380M in 2006 and are expected to jump 35% to $512M this year. Shares of News Corp. gained 0.4% to $22.75 on Monday.
Commentary: News Corp Turns MySpace Into A Portal • MySpace Tries To Catch Up To Facebook • Facebook Ranked Third in Page Views; MySpace Down Nearly 20%
Stocks to watch: NWS. ETFs: XLY
Earnings call transcript: News Corporation F4Q07
Related: Facebook Gaming Applications Rankings
MACRO AND HOUSING
Fed Indicates Support for M-LEC
The Federal Reserve backs the efforts of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to boost liquidity in the asset-backed commercial paper market via the M-LEC, a $100 billion megafund spearheaded by three Wall Street banks, a Fed official said Monday. The banks proposed the fund on October 15 (full story), and the lack of a response from the Fed had been interpreted by some as criticism. "The [Fed's] silence has been misconstrued," the unnamed official said. "The proposal looks reasonably well designed and has the potential to contribute -- rather than to impair -- improvements in these markets and the process of price discovery." Investors, unable to value the assets of structured investment vehicles (SIVs), have been reluctant to lend to them, creating a concern that the SIVs might have no choice but to dump their assets at bargain-basement prices. M-LEC will buy assets from distressed SIVs to support their prices. The impetus for the fund came from Paulson, a former senior executive at Goldman Sachs. Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann is reserving judgment on the fund, while Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy, said "there is still a lot of work to do before the fund works correctly." Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said M-LEC could prevent problems from being resolved by stopping prices from falling to market levels.
Commentary: SIV Bailout Plan: Don't Ask, Don't Sell • The MLEC: Who's Going to Fund It... You? • Out of the Crisis: Is the U.S. Treasury Crossing Into 'Moral Hazard' Territory?
Stocks to watch: C, JPM, BAC
Earnings call transcripts: Citigroup Q3 2007, JP Morgan Q3 2007, Bank of America Q3 2007
Homeowners Turn to Bankruptcy to Stave Off Foreclosure
Consumer bankruptcy filings jumped almost 23% in September as a growing number of homeowners looked toward bankruptcy as a way to stave off foreclosure on their homes. According to data released Monday by the nonprofit American Bankruptcy Institute, nearly 69,000 people filed for personal bankruptcy in September. During the first nine months of 2007, it said, filings are up 44.8%. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides only a temporary break in foreclosure proceedings, so an increasing number of homeowners are now filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, which give homeowners 3 to 5 years to pay off debts. Debtors must have a regular income and stay current on new bills to qualify. Forty percent of filings are now under Chapter 13, up from 30% in 2005. "It's a mess," one bankruptcy attorney who says he receives double the calls from debtors as he did a year ago told the Wall Street Journal. "This is fed right now by real estate, and what's been this mortgage frenzy in the last several years." A Chapter 13 filing remains on a person's credit records for 10 years, making it next to impossible for him to get financing during that period.
Commentary: Is the Collapsing Credit Bubble Contagious? • Government Sponsored Mortgage Placebos • The Multiplier Effect of the Subprime Mess
Target Drops Same-Store Sales Forecast Again
Target Corp. cut its October same-store sales outlook late Monday for the second month in a row (full story), saying it now expects a same-store sales increase of 2-4%, down from an earlier 3-5% growth forecast (transcript). The retailer told investors in a recorded message the reduction is partially due to "greater-than-normal daily volatility and continued disappointing sales results for the first two weeks of October." Retail investors are watching same-store sales closely to gage if a weak U.S. housing market is taking its toll on consumer spending and confidence going in to a crucial holiday season. In September, retailers reported disappointing same-store sales, which they blamed on unusually warm weather that hurt demand for cold-weather gear (full story). Target shares are up 7.9% YTD
Commentary: Target Warns on September Same-Store Sales • Target Considering Sale of $7B of Credit Card Receivables • Pershing Square Takes Aim At Target Corp.
Stocks to watch: TGT. Competitors: COST, WMT. ETFs: RTH, XLY, PRFS
Earnings call transcript: Target F2Q07
Nike Buys Football Jersey Maker Umbro
Nike announced early Tuesday it has agreed to buy U.K. football (soccer) jersey maker Umbro for 193 pence/share, or a total of 285 million pounds ($580 million). The all-cash offer values Umbro at a 61% premium to its closing price on October 17, the day Umbro announced it had been approached with an offer from an unnamed competitor. Shares rose to 188.75 pence in London trading as of 11:21 AM BST, a gain of 14.4% on news of the buyout. According to Nike CEO Mark Parker, the deal "significantly expands Nike's global leadership in football, a key growth category." Umbro will increase global sales of soccer apparel for Nike by 10%, to about 3.4%, while giving it rights to clothe the British national team and produce replica jerseys of internationally recognized superstars like Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen. Nike has obtained the backing of the British Football Association in its takeover attempts. It requires 90% of the outstanding shares to complete the purchase, which raises a possible sticking point with Umbro institutional owners JJB Sports (10% stake) and Sports Direct International (15% stake). At least one British analyst didn't see any real problems arising from Nike's offer: "This is a knock out bid. The offer price is pretty plump," said WH Ireland analyst John Cummins.
Commentary: Nike Runs Out of Running Room [24/7 Wall St.] • Nike Stock: Just Doing It • How Good Are Nike's Earnings? • Nike Beats Street on Strong Demand from Asia, Europe
Stocks/ETFs to watch: NKE. Competitors: OTCQX:ADDYY, UA. Athletic/footwear retailers: FL, DKS, FINL, CROX. ETFs: PEZ, PWC
Earnings call transcript: Nike F1Q08
TRANSPORT AND AEROSPACE
UAW Scrambles to Push Through Chrysler Pact
As a tentative labor contract with Chrysler runs into opposition, officials from the United Auto Workers union are urging members at plants in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois to consider its benefits. Critics of the deal strongly oppose new features in the contract, like an unprecedented two-tier wage system. On that item, UAW HQ says the new system will pull Chrysler away from its current practice of shifting low-end work to non-unionized suppliers. In a letter sent to members by email Monday, in which the union officials decry the "misinformation" spread by the deal's opponents, they say the contract "will bring those jobs back at a new entry-level rate of pay and benefits." "We believe you deserve to know the bare truth about the tentative agreement so you can make an informed decision when you vote," the letter said. In related news, sources close to the negotiations said Monday that Chrysler has promised that if the union approves the new contract, it will keep some plants operating beyond the contract's 2011 expiration. In addition, UAW VP General Holiefield was quoted as saying one of Chrysler's St. Louis plants has been given a product guarantee. "It sounds to me like they're making one more push for the deal, to get it ratified," said IRN Inc. analyst Erich Merkle. "I guess it comes down to whether the member base of the UAW trusts the leadership in terms of these handshake-type deals."
Commentary: Chrysler, UAW Reach Tentative Agreement, Ending Strike • As UAW Ratifies Labor Pact, GM Sees Big Savings Ahead • Why Are Ford and Chrysler Letting GM Lead Negotiations With the UAW?
Stocks to watch: DAI. Competitors: F, GM, TM, OTCPK:NSANY, HMC
ENERGY AND MATERIALS
BP Shares Gain Despite Fall in Profit
British oil giant BP plc reported its Q3 profits fell 29%, on energy trading losses, as well as decreases in production and refining margins. Nonetheless, its shares were up almost 2% in intraday trading in London (as of 11:55 AM BST) as it managed to top estimates on an adjusted basis. BP's net income fell to $4.41 billion, good for EPS of $0.23, versus EPS of $0.31 in the year-earlier period. BP's gas and power division swung to a $57 million loss on energy derivatives trading losses, versus a $152 million profit in the division a year ago. A spokesman for the company explained the trading losses: "The trading profits tend to fluctuate from quarter to quarter ... it's difficult to win every time." BP is currently in the middle of a major overhaul of its business (full summary). The earnings conference call is due to take place at 9 AM ET Tuesday (full transcriptlater today).
Commentary: Could BP Mean Big Potential? • BP Plans Major Shake-Up
Stocks/ETFs to watch: BP. Competitors: XOM, CVX, RDS.A. ETFs: DGT, ADRU, ADRD
Earnings call transcript: BP Q2 2007
BHP Q3 Output Falls Short of Expectations
Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton reported quarterly production results Tuesday that fell short of analyst expectations as maintenance disruptions cut into its mining output. BHP said the disruptions will likely continue in coming quarters, which may prompt analysts to lower their earnings forecasts. Iron-ore production was up 7% to a record 25.87 million tons, falling short of UBS forecasts. "I was sort of hoping to see things pick up a little more than they had," UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock said. Rival iron ore producer Rio Tinto said last week its iron ore production fell 2% from the previous quarter. Copper production fell 10% q/q due to a smelter shutdown, but was up 23% y/y. Nickel output was down 19% q/q due to maintenance interruptions and fell 13% y/y. "It was on the softer side of expectations, we're talking 1% or 2% change to earnings, which is not really material," Lawcock said. BHP shares rose 0.2% Tuesday in Australia to A$46.
Commentary: Iron Ore Prices Seen Rising 30% in 2008 • Commodities' Golden Future • BHP Billiton: Good Looking Stock With Great Ore
Stocks to watch: BHP, BBL. Competitors: RTP, AA, AAUK. ETFs: ADRA
Earnings call transcript: BHP Billiton Ltd. Annual Fiscal 2007
DuPont Tops Targets on Strong International Sales
Dow component DuPont posted better-than-expected Q3 earnings Tuesday and widened its full-year outlook, as strong international sales exceeded the effect of weak U.S. demand amid downturns in the housing and auto markets. The number-three U.S. chemical maker said Q3 net income was up 8.5% to $526 million ($0.56/share) on a 5.8% sales gain to $6.67 billion, compared to earnings of $485 million ($0.52) on sales of $6.31 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Total revenue was up 5.9% to $7.04 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting EPS of $0.52 on total revenue of $6.73 billion. For 2007, DuPont now expects EPS of $3.15-3.20, vs. a previous $3.15. For 2008, the company said it expects 5-10% EPS growth. Analysts polled by Reuters had been forecasting 2007 EPS of $3.16 and 2008 EPS of $3.40. "Our performance reflects the concentrated actions of our employees to execute our growth strategies and productivity initiatives, which overcame the challenges of higher cost ingredients and lower U.S. demand," CEO Charles Holliday Jr. said in a press release (full earnings call transcript later today). Last week, Dow 30 components and DuPont competitors Caterpillar (full story) and 3M (full story) posted weaker-than-expected numbers. Shares of DuPont are down about 5% in the last six months, vs. an 11% gain in the S & P Chemicals Index.
Commentary: DuPont Lacks Dividend Chemistry • DuPont: Still a Growth Stock - Barron's
Stocks to watch: DD. Competitors: DOW, XOM, CAT, MMM. ETFs: XLB, PRFM, IYM, VAW
Earnings call transcript: DuPont Q2 2007
American Express Beats; Calls Credit Quality "Favorable"
American Express reported an increase in profits after the bell Monday, as consumers used their cards more and the company was able to charge higher merchant fees. For the third-quarter, net income jumped 10% to $1.07 billion ($0.90/share) compared to $967 million ($0.79/share) last year. Revenues rose to $7.95 billion after coming in at $6.27 billion a year ago. Amex was able to beat both analysts' earnings estimates of $0.85/share and revenue targets of $7.29 billion. Purchases also were up 16% to $162.5 billion. Kenneth Chenault, CEO of the company, said (full earnings call transcript), "While we continue to be cautious about the overall economy, our ongoing focus on the premium sector and careful management of loan and investment portfolios allowed us to maintain strong credit quality that compares favorable to the industry." The company targets more affluent consumers, but cardholder loans have been increasing at as much as four-times faster than competitors because the company is offering more cards with revolving balances and rewards programs. Michael Taiano, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill, noted that this has "unnerved" some investors who are worried about defaults. Overall however, investors were up beat on the results, pushing the company's stock up 1.7% to $57.90 after trading slightly down in Monday's session.
Commentary: American Express: Don't Leave Home Without It • Credit-Card Defaults on the Rise -- FT
Stocks to watch: AXP. Competitors: MA. ETFs: PWB, KLD
Earnings call transcript: American Express Q3 2007
Apollo Group's Q4 Profit Rises on Enrollment; Forms JV With Carlyle
Education company Apollo Group Inc., which owns the University of Phoenix, reported Monday that Q4 profit jumped more than a third on strong enrollment. Earnings for the quarter came in at $115.2 million ($0.67/share), up from $94.7 million ($0.54) in the year-ago period. Including items, Apollo earned $103.2 million ($0.60), up from $75.7 million ($0.43) last year and in line with analyst expectations. Revenue rose to $713.9 million, up 14% from last year's $624.9 million and ahead of analyst forecasts of $701.1 million. Total degreed enrollments rose 11% to 313,700. Full-year profit was $408.8 million ($2.35/share) versus $414.8 million in 2006. Total revenue in 2007 was up 10% from 2006 to $2.7 billion. Apollo President Brian Mueller said expanded programs, more productive enrollment counselors and advertising have "proven to be the right investments in the long run. Revenue growth has exceeded our expectation" (full earnings call transcript) Apollo also announced that its board has approved a further buyback of up to $500 million worth of common stock. In related news, Apollo announced Monday that it has formed a $1 billion JV with private equity firm Carlyle Group that will invest in the international education services sector. Apollo will own 80.1% of the venture. At the beginning of Q4, the SEC wrapped up its investigation of Apollo's stock options awards practices. The company said in July it does not expect disciplinary measures to be taken.
Commentary: Apollo's Earnings Show Cost Increases Outpacing Revenue Gains • True Measure of Earnings Success: Top Gainers, Losers So Far
Stocks to watch: APOL. Competitors: CECO, DV, ESI. ETFs: QQXT, RPG, RCD
Earnings call transcript: Apollo Group Inc. F4Q07
MUST-READS ON SEEKING ALPHA TODAY
Have Wall Street Breakfast emailed to you every morning before the market opens.