News Archive

Chevron increases quarterly dividend by a penny

Chevron Corp will increase its quarterly dividend by a penny, to $1.08, payable on Dec. 12 to shareholders of record on Nov. 18, the company said on Wednesday. Its shares rose 0.4 percent to close Wednesday trading at $101.19.

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Tesla reports first quarterly profit in more than three years

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) reported its first quarterly net profit in more than three years on Wednesday as record deliveries helped to offset rising expenses related to next year’s roll-out of the company’s mass-market Model 3 sedan.

Tesla, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, recorded net income of $21.9 million, or 14 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $229.9 million, or $1.78 per share, a year earlier.

Tesla, which went public in 2010, had not made a net quarterly profit since the first quarter of 2013.

Total revenue more than doubled to $2.30 billion.

On an adjusted basis, Tesla reported a profit of 71 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.35 per share in the same period last year. It was the company’s first profit on that basis since the third quarter of 2014.

Tesla, whose shares were up 6.2 percent in after-hours trading, reiterated its delivery target for the second-half of 2016, saying it expected to deliver just over 25,000 vehicles in the current quarter.

The Silicon Valley carmaker said earlier this month that it delivered 24,500 vehicles in the latest quarter, an increase of 70 percent from the same period last year.

Tesla is counting on the $35,000 Model 3 to help it meet its goal of producing 500,000 cars annually in 2018.

Tesla said it had $3.08 billion in cash and cash-equivalents as of Sept. 30, compared with $3.25 billion at the end of the second quarter.

Tesla did not provide in its earnings statement an update on its planned $2.6 billion acquisition of unprofitable solar panel maker SolarCity Corp (SCTY.O). (

Musk, who is SolarCity’s chairman and top shareholder as well as being Tesla’s chief executive, has said he plans to provide more financial details on the deal on Nov. 1 ahead of a vote by shareholders of both companies on Nov. 17.

Investors and analysts are concerned that SolarCity will divert needed cash from money-losing Tesla and distract Musk from the Model 3 project.

The company, which is building a $5 billion “gigafactory” in Nevada to make batteries, said it expected capital expenditure of $1.8 billion this year, most of this in the current quarter.

Musk said earlier this month that Tesla would not need to raise additional equity or debt this year, contradicting an earlier filing with regulators.

The company’s total operating costs rose 32.7 percent to $551.1 million in the latest quarter.

Up to Wednesday’s close of $202.24, Tesla’s shares had fallen 15.7 percent this year.

Of 20 analysts covering the company, seven have a “sell” rating on the stock, four rate it “buy” or higher and nine have a “hold”, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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Whole Foods eyes millennials with Purple Carrot meal kit test

LOS ANGELES Whole Foods Market Inc began testing sales of Purple Carrot’s vegan meal kits on Wednesday, joining forces with one of many startups that threaten mainstream grocers by delivering boxed, cook-at-home meals.

Venture capital firms have funded a bumper crop of meal kit companies, which are particularly popular with sought-after millennials. They include Purple Carrot, Blue Apron, Plated, HelloFresh and Sun Basket, whose subscription plans include weekly shipments with instructions and pre-measured ingredients to make three meals for two people.

Purple Carrot downsized its kits for the test at Whole Foods. Those smaller boxes include fixings for a single meal for two people, cost $19.99 and currently are only sold in the grocer’s Dedham, Massachusetts, store.

Ahold USA already sells its own meal kits at two of its grocery store chains in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Peapod, Ahold’s online grocery delivery service, also offers those meal kits without a subscription.

Executives at Kroger Co, the largest U.S. supermarket operator, in June said they were “very open” to creating a meal kit service or partnering with an existing operator.

Meal kit delivery startups in the United States have raised more than $650 million in venture capital and are expected to generate roughly $1.5 billion in sales in 2016, according to Packaged Facts, a division of

While the flood of venture funding supports rapid growth, it also fuels rampant discounting that makes subscriber retention difficult.

A recent report from Fast Company, citing research from 1010data, found that roughly half of Blue Apron subscribers remained after the second week and only about 10 percent stayed after six months. The research showed similar results for HelloFresh and Plated. The companies called the data inaccurate but declined to provide retention information.

Bloomberg in September reported that Blue Apron is preparing an initial public offering.

Don Tilson, 53, said he is among the company’s lapsed users.

“I thought they were kind of pricey for the amount of food you got,” said Tilson, who lives in Austin, Texas.

Purple Carrot Chief Executive Andy Levitt said his company’s churn rate is lower than rivals’ but conceded that discounting has “created a promiscuous user base.”

The Whole Foods partnership, he said, “helps expose a lot of consumers to the way a meal kit works and how easy it is to cook a plant-based meal at home.”

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Earnings in focus as Apple weighs; Boeing lifts Dow

Quarterly results were the main driver for Wall Street on Wednesday as a decline in Apple shares weighed on the SP 500 and Nasdaq, while the price-weighted Dow Industrials was buoyed by gains in Boeing.

Apple, the world’s largest exchange-traded company, fell 2.2 percent after it acknowledged that strong demand for its iPhone 7 Plus caught the company off-guard and it was struggling to keep up.

On the other hand, Boeing shares hit their highest level since Dec. 31 after the planemaker reported a jump in quarterly profit despite slower sales. Boeing closed up 4.7 percent at $145.54.

SP 500 earnings have so far surprised on the upside, with the blended growth estimate at 2.2 percent, from a 0.5 percent decline expected at the start of this month. Of the companies that have reported, 74 percent have beaten analyst expectations – above the 70 percent beat rate over the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“There’s an expectation that when we finish the season that the earnings recession will be abated and that should be positive for the market going forward,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

She said, however, that a number of earnings misses left the market in a tight range and in search of a stronger catalyst.

“The market looks tired,” Krosby said. “Breadth has been narrowing and that has a number of (technical analysts)telegraphing caution.”

The number of weekly 52-week highs on the New York Stock Exchange has diminished sharply from the year’s peak in late June, at more than 1,500, to less than 400 last week and just 262 so far this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.06 points, or 0.17 percent, to 18,199.33, the SP 500 lost 3.73 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,139.43 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 33.13 points, or 0.63 percent, to 5,250.27.

About 6.6 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, above the 6.4 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Chipotle Mexican Grill shares slumped 9.3 percent after the restaurant chain operator reported a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly sales at established restaurants.

Edwards Lifesciences was the biggest loser on the SP 500, falling 17.1 percent after the medical device maker’s third-quarter sales missed expectations.

On the positive column, Mondelez added 3.6 percent to $44.32 after its quarterly profit beat estimates and it raised its profit forecast for the year.

Earlier, economic data showed new home sales unexpectedly rose and both wholesale and retail inventories increased in September, while the goods trade deficit narrowed sharply, suggesting a stronger pickup in economic growth in the third quarter than is currently anticipated.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.21-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The SP 500 posted 9 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 55 new highs and 77 new lows.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Microsoft launches first desktop, Windows update with 3D features

NEW YORK Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Wednesday unveiled its first-ever desktop computer and a free update to its Windows operating system that allows edits using 3D simulations, in hopes of reinvigorating its computing business.

The Windows 10 Creators Update, coming in early 2017, lets mobile devices scan an object on all sides so it can rotate 360 degrees in a photograph. It also allows for three-dimensional graphics in Microsoft’s popular PowerPoint presentation software, and a new “Paint 3D” application allows edits in 3D simulations.

Sales for Microsoft’s computing business have declined since 2015. With the new features, Microsoft is hoping to stand out from the pack and win over creative types who have long preferred products from rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

“Microsoft has its work cut out in trying to convince potential customers that its products are more than just the workhorses they’ve always been for many,” analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said in a note. “That won’t change overnight.”

Microsoft shares closed 0.6 percent lower at $60.63.

The technology company’s desktop computer, the Surface Studio, has a touch-screen monitor that can lie flat and be drawn on with a stylus. Microsoft also said it would introduce a new Surface Book laptop whose battery life is 30 percent longer at 16 hours.

At $2,999 and up, the Surface Studio will be “out of reach for the vast majority of consumers,” Dawson said.

The upgrade, for Windows 10 only, has limits as well. While more than 400 million devices run on Windows 10, far more computers still have Windows 7 installed, according to data from NetMarketShare. That means the majority of users will not see any changes.

Nonetheless, analysts said the upgrade puts Microsoft at the forefront of mass-market 3D technology, with the potential to please average users and intensive gamers alike.

“Microsoft is getting ahead of the curve,” Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth said. “Their marketing efforts to illustrate the 3D ability seems to be ahead of Apple’s.”

Apple has scheduled an event on Thursday where it is expected to unveil updated Mac computers.

Microsoft’s update targets gamers in particular, who are keen on using new virtual reality headsets and have been turned on to augmented reality games since the July launch of hit mobile app Pokemon Go.

Business partners HP, Lenovo, Dell and others will introduce virtual reality headsets, starting at $299, that work with the new Windows 10, Microsoft said.

“We are building Windows for each of us (and enabling) people to experience computing in new ways,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said at a New York event to launch the new products.

Revenue for the Windows and computing unit fell 1.8 percent last quarter to $9.29 billion, Microsoft said on Thursday. It forecast division sales of as much as $11.6 billion for this quarter, well below year-earlier results of $12.7 billion.

Nonetheless, Microsoft is riding high on its fast-growing cloud business, which companies can use to host their websites, apps or data. Shares of Microsoft have doubled since August 2013, with Nadella restoring investor confidence by focusing on mobile and cloud computing rather than PCs.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Richard Chang)

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Boeing sees cash growth even if sales, production slow

Boeing Co (BA.N) on Wednesday beat profit expectations in the third quarter as cost-cutting offset declining revenue at the world’s biggest planemaker. Boeing also said it would deliver more commercial planes than originally planned for the year and that cash flow will keep rising through the end of the decade.

Boeing held off cutting production of its profitable 777 jets to account for slowing sales and the transition to the successor 777X, as some analysts expected.

Boeing already plans to cut 777 production to 7 a month next year from 8.3 currently. If Boeing went to 5 planes a month, it would have sold 90 percent of production slots in 2018, Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said on a conference call.

“I see that as a bounding case,” he said, meaning the production rate would not need to go lower.

In that scenario deliveries would fall to about 3.5 a month.

Boeing will have more clarity in the next couple of months after pending sales campaigns conclude, Muilenburg added.

Factoring out a tax benefit, Boeing’s rise in quarterly profits showed the effect of its drive for lean manufacturing as it tries to boost profit margins and compete for orders against European rival Airbus (AIR.PA) amid slowing jetliner sales.

Boeing’s revenue is likely to be flat to slightly lower next year, Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said.


Operating cash flow rose 12 percent to $3.2 billion and Boeing affirmed its target of $10 billion or more this year.

Analysts said the cash would reassure investors, but added that the stock has limited upside after a recent rally.

“Sentiment and positioning (in the stock) do not appear particularly negative and we do not believe the stock is set up to run away,” JP Morgan analyst Seth Seifman wrote in a note.

Boeing shares fell as much as 1.7 percent to $136.72 early in the session but later rose 4.7 percent to $145.52 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Jetliner deliveries were down nearly 3 percent from a year ago, reflecting fewer profitable 777 and 737 models reaching customers. But Boeing raised its target for jetliner deliveries for the year to between 745 and 750, from 740 to 745.

The additional planes will boost revenue by $500 million, and Boeing raised its year-end revenue target to between $93.5 billion and $95.5 billion.

The closely watched deferred production cost balance for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a tally of manufacturing costs not yet recouped by sales, declined about $150 million in the quarter to $27.5 billion, reflecting the fact that the high-tech plane is now profitable by some accounting measures. The balance peaked at $28.7 billion in the first quarter and has since declined.

Boeing is curbing the use of paid overtime by 80,000 salaried workers based in the United States.

Revenue and profit fell in Boeing’s defense business, partly an effect of the discontinued C-17 transport plane.

Boeing’s adjusted earnings, which exclude some pension and other costs, rose 39 percent to $3.51 per share, including a tax gain of 70 cents a share it received by claiming more depreciation than it had previously.

Factoring that out, core earnings were $2.81 a share, compared with the $2.62 that analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell to $23.90 billion from $25.85 billion in the quarter.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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U.S. housing, trade data boost third quarter GDP growth prospects

WASHINGTON New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in September, pointing to sustained demand for housing even as data for the prior three months were revised lower.

Other reports on Wednesday suggested a stronger pickup in economic growth in the third quarter than is currently anticipated. The goods trade deficit narrowed sharply, while both wholesale and retail inventories increased in September.

“A lot of the pieces of the puzzle have come back together in a positive direction, with a pickup in the export of goods to the rest of the world and new home sales,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

The Commerce Department said new home sales increased 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units last month, pulling them close to a nine-year high touched in July. However, the pace for the prior three months was revised down by a total of 85,000 units from previous estimates.

New home sales, which are derived from building permits, are volatile on a month-to-month basis and subject to large revisions. Sales increased 29.8 percent from a year ago.

Economists had forecast single-family home sales, which account for about 9.8 percent of overall home sales, falling to a rate of 600,000 units last month.

“The housing market may not be booming but it is clearly moving forward at a steady pace,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. “But the big problem is still the lack of inventory. Builders are cautious and tend to do very little speculative construction.”

Despite the downward revisions, new home sales rose in the third quarter compared to the April-June period. Residential construction, however, likely remained a mild drag on gross domestic product for a second straight quarter.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, GDP probably increased at a 2.5 percent rate in the third quarter, quickening from the second-quarter’s tepid 1.4 percent pace.

But advance data on Wednesday showing the goods trade deficit falling 5.2 percent to $56.1 billion in September amid strong exports suggested that third-quarter GDP growth could exceed expectations.

In addition, wholesale inventories increased 0.2 percent in September and retail inventories rose 0.3 percent.

“Based on this morning’s data, we now believe the boost from trade could be closer to a full percentage point, almost twice what we had expected,” said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

“Even assuming some offset in farm inventories, and possibly business investment, we now look for real GDP growth in the third quarter to have advanced by 3.3 percent.”

The government will publish its advance GDP growth estimate for the third quarter on Friday.


The broader PHLX housing index .HGX, which includes builders, building products and mortgage companies, was little changed in early afternoon trading. Shares in the nation’s largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N), were slightly lower. Lennar Corp (LEN.N) rose 0.48 percent, while Toll Brothers (TOL.N) was flat.

Despite rising demand for housing, home building has been lagging, with builders complaining about land and labor shortages. Demand is being driven by rising wages as the labor market nears full employment, as well as by low mortgage rates.

“New home sales are still running ahead of single-family housing starts when inventories of new and existing homes for sale are already very lean,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley in New York.

“This should support much better future homebuilding activity if homebuilders can overcome what they’ve described as supply-side constraints on activity from shortages of qualified labor and lots.”

Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home loans for last week fell to their lowest level since January.

Last month, new single-family homes sales rose in the Northeast, the Midwest and South. They fell in the West.

The inventory of new homes on the market dipped 0.4 percent to 235,000 units. At September’s sales pace it would take 4.8 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 4.9 months in August.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Oil price declines weigh on European markets

LONDON European shares fell on Wednesday maintaining a gloomy trend set in Asia and the United States, and with concerns about a global glut of oil looming over the market.

Mixed results from the continent’s banking sector and losses in the mining sector pushed the pan-European STOXX 600 index down 0.6 percent.

The losses came after oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday as a report showing a surge in U.S. crude stocks, rising production in Nigeria and squabbling among producers about a planned output cut re-ignited concerns about oversupply.

Brent crude futures were down 51 cents at one stage at $50.28 a barrel before recovering slightly to $50.40.

“The recent drop in oil prices is partially responsible but also indices continue to struggle for momentum as they attempt to break above their recent highs,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Reports of U.S. oil inventories rising more than expected last week were contributing to oil price declines, he said.

Traders said squabbles within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) about a planned output cut later this year were also weighing on oil markets.

Iraq, OPEC’s second biggest oil producer, wants to be exempt from the cut, arguing it needs the revenues to fight Islamic State.

Another factor behind European and Asian stock price weakness was disappointing results and forecasts from U.S. companies on Tuesday – most notably with Apple recording declining iPhones sales.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, is down 0.08 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 0.8 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei reversed earlier losses to close up 0.15 percent as the yen pulled back.

European equities were also edgy as investors digested a slew of earnings reports, with commodity-related stocks and with British bank Lloyds under pressure, though well-received results from Santander buoyed Spanish stocks.

Antofagasta led the losses in the mining sector, dropping 6.5 percent.


In currency markets, sterling recovered from Monday’s lows after Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney said in a speech the central bank could not ignore the effect of sterling’s slide on inflation.

This increased expectations that policymakers would leave rates unchanged next week.

Sterling rose 0.12 percent against the dollar to $1.2198, coming off Monday’s trough of $1.2081, which was the lowest level since the Oct. 7 “flash crash”.

The euro, which slid to a 7 1/2-month low of $1.0851 on Tuesday, recovered to end the session flat, and was trading little changed at $1.0887 on Wednesday.

With investors looking ahead to U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product data on Friday, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global peers, fell 0.20 percent to 98.513.

It hit its highest level since Feb. 1 on Tuesday as traders saw a better than 78 percent chance of an interest rise hike by the Federal Reserve in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

For Reuters new Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=

(Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan, Additional reporting by Nichola Saminather and Ethan Lou)

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Apple’s holiday surprise: big sales, not so big profits

Apple Inc posted its third successive quarter of declining iPhone sales on Tuesday and forecast slimmer-than-expected profit margins over the upcoming holiday season even as it projected record sales, sending its shares down.

The world’s most valuable publicly traded company said improved sales from China were around the corner, despite revenue falling almost 30 percent from the country in the latest quarter. It said sales so far to India have only scratched the surface.

But a slight miss on fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and a projection of gross profit margins a touch behind analyst targets reflected broader concerns that Apple may have lost its tech superiority, even with the refreshed iPhone 7.

“In essence, in China and elsewhere, while Apple’s products are still seen favorably, the distance between Apple and its competitors is nowhere near as great as it once was,” Neil Saunders, head of retail research firm Conlumino, wrote in a note.

Apple shares fell 2.8 percent to $114.99 in after-hours trading.

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in a phone interview with Reuters it was “impossible to know” if there was any effect yet from rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd halting production of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 phones earlier this month.

He also said that Apple was “supply constrained” and selling all the smartphones it could make.

“It’s clear that Apple is bullish about growth in the iPhone, but there’s little evidence of that growth in the actual results announced today,” said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

“Given that the iPhone 7 and especially the iPhone 7 Plus is in short supply, Apple is going to be a little constrained in its ability to take full advantage of the strong demand we’re seeing,” he added.


Apple said it sold 45.51 million iPhones in the three months ended Sept. 24. That beat the average analysts’ estimate of 44.8 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Revenue fell 9 percent to $46.85 billion, a touch behind Wall Street targets, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Apple forecast revenue of $76 billion to $78 billion for the current, holiday-dominated quarter, ahead of the consensus estimate of $75.08 billion.

If it hits that estimate, this quarter would be Apple’s biggest on record by sales, ahead of the $75.9 billion revenue it posted in the year-ago period.

However, Apple offered a conservative outlook on profit margins, 38 to 38.5 percent, versus expectations of nearly 39 percent, said Mariann Montagne, senior investment analyst and portfolio manager at Gradient Investments.

“I think people were a bit surprised,” said Montagne, whose firm holds Apple shares.

Apple shares have outperformed the market over the last three months, and Edward Jones analyst Bill Kreher said the shares were taking a “natural pause” even though results were positive. The stock hit a 12-month low of $89.47 in May and has marched up since as investor confidence returned.


Apple is still optimistic about its business in China, CFO Maestri said. While gross domestic product growth in the country has slowed, the economy is still growing, the middle class is expanding and smartphone ownership remains low, he said.

Maestri said high demand for Apple’s newest iPhones made the company confident about results in the first quarter.

The company’s net income fell to $9.01 billion, or $1.67 per share in the quarter from $11.12 billion, or $1.96 per share, a year earlier. That beat the average estimate of $1.66 per share.

Apple’s fortunes are strongly tied to the success of the iPhone, which accounts for two-thirds of its revenue.

Chief Executive Tim Cook also said on a call with analysts that India was poised to boom in smartphone sales as a more powerful 4G cellular network was put in place this year and next.

He also hinted at potential future areas of business, commenting that media content creation and ownership was a great opportunity. Cook declined to say whether Apple was working on a car, as has been widely reported, but he called the industry “interesting.”

(Additional reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Ted Kerr and Bill Rigby)

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