Details on the AT&T-DirecTV deal come out, Home Depot reports low earnings, and Chipotle asks patrons to not bring guns in. More news for the busy investor.
Home Depot Has Lower Than Expected Earnings Report
A slow start to the spring selling season is being blamed for Home Depot’s lower than expected earnings report for the first quarter. The severe winter weather was a factor in the company posting earnings of 96 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on sales of $19.7 billion. Analysts had expected a report of 99 cents a share in earnings on 419.95 billion in revenue. Comparable store sales increased 2.6 percent over the same period. “The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season,’’ said Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake. “But we had solid results in non-weather impacted markets and expect our sales for the year to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided.” Home Depot maintained its sales growth forecast for the year ending in January at 4.8 percent. Home Depot gets much of its business from building contractors and they were impacted by the weather.
Chipotle Says No To Guns
Denver-based Chipotle is politely requesting customers not to bring guns into its restaurants in response to a recent event in which guns rights advocates brought military-style assault rifles into the store. Chipotle officials said it traditionally complies with local laws regarding open and concealed weapons, but the event raised concerns about safety. “The display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers,’’ the company said in a statement. A company spokesman did not respond to questions about whether it was an outright ban of firearms. Last year, Starbucks made the same request in response to a demonstration outside a store by gun rights advocates that caused them to close a store.
European Union Makes Charge Against HSBC and JPMorgan
Antitrust regulators from the European Union charged HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole with rigging financial benchmarks linked to the euro. The rigging could lead to potential fines for market manipulation. "The (European) Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives," the EU competition authority said. The fines could reach up to 10 percent of their global turnover if found guilty of breaching European Union antitrust rules. In December, a fine of 1.7 billion euro (which translates to $2.3 billion), was levied on six banks for similar offenses.
Burger King Gives “Have It Your Way” a Break Today
In a whopper of an announcement, Burger King is scrapping its 40-year-old "Have It Your Way" slogan in favor of the more personal "Be Your Way,” The Associated Press reports. The new line made its first appearance in an online video last month, and will be featured in a new TV ad which aired Monday night. The new motto is intended to remind people that "they can and should live how they want anytime. It's ok to not be perfect ... Self-expression is most important and it's our differences that make us individuals instead of robots.” the chain said in a statement. The switch is the latest in a series of marketing and menu changes under Burger King's new management. The company, along with its chief rival, McDonald’s Corp., is fighting to boost sales at a time when people are moving toward foods they feel are fresher or higher quality.
AT&T to Score with Football?
AT&T's planned $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV raises the possibility of making DirecTV's signature programming, NFL Sunday Ticket, available on mobile devices. Unlike Verizon’s deal with the NFL for certain live game streams on its phones, NFL Sunday Ticket involves all NFL games, The Associated Press reports. DirecTV CEO Michael White says he's "confident" that it can renew its Sunday Ticket deal with the NFL after it expires at the end of the upcoming season, but he stops short of saying it would definitely be available on AT&T smartphones, the AP said.
AstraZeneca Rejects Pfizer Offer
Pfizer, the world’s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue, improved its takeover offer of AstraZeneca to $119 billion, but the U.S. company rejected it Monday. The board said in a statement that it "reiterates its confidence in AstraZeneca's ability to deliver on its prospects as an independent, science led business." Pfizer has been courting the No. 8 company since the beginning of the year. The acquisition would have been the richest ever among drugmakers and the third biggest in any industry, according to figures from research firm Dealogic. The prospect of a deal looks increasingly unlikely.