Market Focus


AIG swung to a profit, showing continued signs of a turnaround since a government bailout. The insurer’s earnings out, which were out after the closing bell, beat on both the top and bottom lines. The company also upped its quarterly dividend and increased its buyback program by $1 billion. Shares initially rose after hours. The stock ended the regular session up one percent to $49.59.


Kraft foods also reported after the market close. Profits rose on pension-related gains and on higher sales of refrigerated meals and beverages. Revenue missed slightly, but investors didn’t seem to mind. Shares rose following the report. Kraft ended the regular day up a fraction to $53.60.


UPS announced a five cent increase to its dividend. The company said its solid cash flow performance drove the decision to give more back to shareholders. Since the year 2000, the company’s dividend has tripled. Shares were up slightly to $96.56.


PepsiCo’s North American beverage business posted another drop in sales, but the company says it won’t spin off the unit, despite pressure from an activist investor. The soda and snack maker managed to report an earnings beat on strong sales from its snack food division and it raised the amount of cash it will give back to shareholders. But revenue came in shy of estimates, which sent shares down more than two percent to $79.69.


Merck may get more than $10 billion for its consumer business according to reports. The drug maker has been publicly exploring the sale of the unit, which makes well-known brands like Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy pills. Merck is looking to shed the business to focus on its therapeutic areas, like its drugs for caner and diabetes. Shares rose a fraction to $55.10.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney named former Kohl’s executive, Ed Record, as its new Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President. The struggling retailer didn’t say why its current CFO, Kevin Hannah is leaving. The change, which will go into effect in March, is the latest in a series of turnaround efforts by the troubled department store operator. Shares were slightly higher to $5.99.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods has lowered its 2014 sales and profit forecast. The natural foods grocer reported and earnings miss after last night’s close, which it blamed on growing competition from traditional grocers, who are offering more organic foods. The co-CEO says quality is what makes the chain successful. Still, shares fell more than seven percent to $51.46.

This entry was posted in Market Focus. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply