U.S. jobless claims and manufacturing index data were mixed. The economic situations in Japan and Europe have not seen improvements. U.S. stocks opened slightly lower.
Nike, Inc (NKE) announced Thursday it has approved a $8 billion of stock repurchase program of Class B ordinary shares. The new repurchase program will last for four years, after the completion (in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013) of the on-going $5 billion of stock repurchase program. Nike CEO Mark Parker said in a statement over the past 10 years, the company has returned $10 billion to shareholders with more than 167 million shares being repurchased. NKE stock price traded flat in the morning session. Also read: S&P 500 constituent companies grew stock buyback amount by 30%.
Bank of America Corp (BAC) is accelerating the implementation of a wide range of cost-cutting plan with a layoffs target of 16,000 employees before the end of the year. Once the layoffs plan is completed, Bank of America will lose the title of largest employer among the U.S. banks. BAC stock traded down 1.29% in the morning session.
U.S. cable operator Liberty Global Inc, (LBTYA) plans to buy a stake of 49.6% of Belgian cable operator Telenet intends for a price of 1.96 billion euros (approximately $2.56 billion). According to reports, Telenet is Belgium’s largest broadband cable service provider. Liberty Global has already held a 50.4% stake in the company. LBTYA shares retreated 0.73% this morning.
The world’s leading information and data analysis firm IHS Inc. (IHS) on Thursday reported its third quarter earnings results. Net income increased from last year same period’s $40.80 million, or 62 cents per share to $44.10 million, or 66 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, earnings came in at 99 cents per share, lower than analysts’ average estimate of $1.01 per share. Revenue rose 14% to $386 million from a year ago’s $339 million, but still below the consensus estimate of $405 million.
IHS also lowered its expectation on full year adjusted earnings per share from $3.88-$4.01 to $3.77-$3.89 dollars, and cut guidance for revenue from $1.55 billion -16 billion to $1.52 billion -15.4 billion. Analysts on average expected the company’s annual earnings per share would reach $3.98 on revenue of $1.57 billion. HIS stock price plummeted more than 16% in the morning session.
U.S. food manufacturer ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG) among hot stocks today, reported that its fiscal first quarter net profit nearly doubled, thanks to the addition of marketing which boosted sales.
As of the quarter ended August 26, the company’s net profit surged to $ 250 million, or 61 cents per share from prior year same period’s $93.8 million, or 22 cents per share.
Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings per share increased to 44 cents from 33 cents a year earlier, higher than the average analyst forecast of 35 cents.
Revenue increased 6.7% to $3.31 billion, slightly higher than the average analyst forecast of $3.24 billion. ConAgra also raised the guidance for fiscal year 2013 adjusted earnings per share to $2.03-$2.06, higher than the average analyst estimate of $1.98. In addition, the company also raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 25 cents per share. Boosted by these positive factors, CAG stock price spiked up more than 6% this morning.
It is said that GM Financial, a subsidiary financial service company of General Motors Corporation (GM), is preparing to acquire Ally Financial’s car rental business in Europe and Latin America. Some analysts pointed out that this deal will help General Motors attract a large number of new customers, but at the same time, will bring about debt burden to the balance sheet for the car manufacturer. It is predicted that this acquisition transaction will make the financial assets of General Motors double. The value of the receivables and car rental business is estimated at $10.4 billion. GM stock price slipped 1.25% this morning.