Discovery & Scripps Networks
Discovery may be cooking up a bid for Food Network and HGTV owner Scripps Networks. The parent of Animal Planet and the Oprah Winfrey Network was reportedly discussing a possible takeover of Scripps in a recent Discovery board meeting. Shares of Discovery were down a fraction to $84.53, while shares of Scripps were on a tear, up more than 7.5% to $81.00.
Lower gas prices and a stronger dollar pinched Costco’s profit. Revenue and net income missed the mark, but the wholesale club’s profit still rose 2% as it pulled in more money from membership fees. The miss disappointed investors. Shares slipped 1% to $118.57.
At its annual investor conference Home Depot said it expects to meet its profitability goal a year earlier than expected as rising home prices mean more renovations. The largest home improvement retailer in the U.S. also upped its stock buyback program to $5 billion. Shares were up slightly to $79.00.
Cisco, Microsoft & Skype
Microsoft got European Union approval for its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, which didn’t please Cisco Systems. Cisco filed complaints in Europe saying the deal would hurt competition and it appealed its original ruling approval. Cisco sells video conferencing software that is more expensive than Skype. Shares of Cisco tumbled down 1.5% to $20.88.
Avon plans to cut 650 jobs and freeze its management technology roll-out in an attempt to trim $400 million in costs. The troubled cosmetics company launched the technology in 2009 to improve communication with sales representatives. The system caused disruptions that led to lower sales in Canada. Shares were down more than 4% to $17.03.
Joy Global saw profit plunge 87% as the mining equipment maker faces weak demand. Coal miners, who make up most of Joy’s revenue, have cut back on buying equipment because of a supply overload and poor prices. To top it off, the company gave a weak outlook. Shares plunged 5% to $53.33.
Autohome, the Chinese auto information website, exploded today in its market debut. The company provides online information, listings, and reviews for Chinese automotive consumers. Investors bought up shares to get in on the massive potential for car purchases from China’s middle class. The stock soared up about 77% to $30.07.
Valero Energy Partners
Valero Energy Partners also went public today. The company is an oil and gas pipeline operator formed by refining giant Valero Energy. It makes money by charging for the transportation of crude oil and refined petroleum products. Shares rose almost 22% in the stock’s debut to $28.