Market Focus

Herbalife

A Massachusetts senator is calling for an investigation into Herbalife’s business practices. Senator Edward Markey sent letters to the SEC, the FTC and Herbalife itself, asking for more information on its operations and compensation systems. The company, which sells vitamins and drink mixes through a network of individual distributors, has been under scrutiny because of accusations that it’s operating a pyramid scheme. Shares plunged ten percent to $65.92.

IBM & Lenovo

Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker, is buying IBM’s low-end server business for more than $2 billion. It could be China’s biggest tech deal. The purchase lets IBM focus on more profitable areas like software and services, and move out of hardware. In IBM’s latest earnings report, weak results from its hardware operations, were a big factor in the company’s revenue miss. Shares of big blue rose a fraction to $182.73.

Starbucks

After the market close, Starbucks reported that profits rose 25 percent last quarter, but revenue came in below forecasts. Sales fell during the holiday season because more consumers shopped online. Global sales were also slightly below estimates. Shares fell a bit in the regular session closing at $73.39.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific beat street estimates thanks to strong grain, automotive and industrial shipments. The rail operator saw overall volume growth for the first time in six quarters, despite weaker coal shipments. That sent shares up more than three percent to $174.12.

United Continental

United Continental reported earnings that topped consensus. The airline got help last quarter from an increase in travel, higher ticket prices and cheaper fuel. But, a weak view for the current quarter overshadowed those results. United expects unit revenue to be flat because of the recent winter storms. Shares fell 1.5% to $48.43.

Johnson Controls

Shares of Johnson Controls took a hit today after the company reported profits that matched forecast and an outlook that trailed estimates. Sales at the auto-parts maker were better than expected, helped by higher automobile production, especially in China. But, investors couldn’t get past the outlook and weakness in some of the company’s main units. The stock fell more than four percent to $49.30.

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