Sunday December 9, 2018
Delta's Earnings Soar Despite Fuel Costs
Delta Air Lines (DAL) released its quarterly earnings report on Thursday, October 11. The airline company reported better-than-expected earnings and was
able to overcome rising fuel costs by boosting airfares in the quarter.
Delta reported quarterly revenue of $11.95 billion. This is up 8% from last year's third quarter revenue of $11.06 billion and is above the $11.94 billion
that Wall Street predicted.
"Our solid 8% revenue growth, combined with flat non-fuel unit cost performance, helped offset 85% of the $655 million fuel cost increase in the quarter,"
said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. "These achievements are a testament to the strength of the Delta business model and the hard work of the Delta people, and I am
pleased to recognize their performance with an additional $395 million toward 2018 profit sharing."
The company announced earnings of $1.31 billion for the quarter, which is up 13% from earnings of $1.16 billion one year ago. On an adjusted earnings per
share basis, the company reported earnings of $1.80 per share, which was more than the $1.74 per share that analysts predicted.
Despite oil prices hovering near four-year highs, Delta has been able to mitigate rising fuel costs thanks to continued travel demand and higher airfares.
The airline's earnings report also revealed that travelers are increasingly willing to shell out more money for seats in premium sections of the plane.
Delta reported a 20% increase in premium ticket revenue for the quarter, compared to 3% revenue growth for coach tickets.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) shares ended the week at $ 52.04, down 0.6% for the week.
Walgreens Reports Increased Earnings
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) reported quarterly earnings on Thursday, October 11. The nation's largest drugstore chain operator posted earnings that
surpassed analysts' expectations and revenue that fell short.
Walgreens announced revenue of $33.44 billion for the fourth quarter. This is up from revenue of $30.15 billion reported in the same quarter last year but
fell below the $33.77 billion in revenue that Wall Street expected.
"We are pleased to have delivered double digit percentage growth in earnings per share while returning $6.8 billion to shareholders through share
repurchases and dividends in fiscal 2018," said Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina. "The integration of the acquired Rite Aid stores is on track, and our
pharmacy market share in the U.S. increased year-over-year on an annual basis."
The company reported earnings of $1.51 billion for the quarter, up from earnings of $802 million one year ago. On an adjusted earnings per share basis, the
company posted earnings of $1.48 per share, which surpassed analysts' estimates of $1.45 per share.
In the fourth quarter, Walgreens' U.S. retail pharmacy sales reached $25.5 billion, an increase of 14.4% year-over-year. The sales uptick was largely due to
the company's acquisition of Rite Aid stores, which increased the company's prescription volume. Walgreens has acquired nearly 2,000 stores from Rite Aid
after the companies' failed merger plans last year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) shares ended the week at $ 73.50, up 1.3% for the week.
Fastenal Beats Earnings Estimates
Fastenal Company (FAST) announced quarterly earnings on Wednesday, October 10. The industrial and construction supply wholesaler reported
better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the quarter.
Revenue for the third quarter reached $1.28 billion. This was up 13% from revenue of $1.13 billion reported during the same quarter last year and above the
$1.27 billion in revenue that analysts expected.
"September was a big month. Coming into the month, we had an aggressive goal," said Fastenal CEO Dan Florness during a call with investors on Wednesday.
"January caused us to just miss our internal sales goal earlier in the year. Since then we have been in excess of goal every month, very similar to what we
experienced in 2017 from the standpoint of good solid top line growth hitting our internal goals, which gives us the confidence to invest in the business."
Fastenal reported quarterly net earnings of $197.6 million, which is more than last year's third quarter earnings of $143.1 million. On an adjusted earnings
per share basis, the company posted earnings of $0.69 per share, which exceeded the $0.67 per share that analysts predicted.
Fastenal is a wholesale provider of industrial and construction supplies, including fasteners, safety equipment, power tools, adhesives, plumbing tools and
electrical equipment. The company's third quarter revenue was boosted by higher unit sales and increased demand thanks to an uptick in production at
factories and construction sites. Despite surpassing earnings and revenue estimates, shares fell 5.9% following the report's release due to increased gross
margin pressure. For the third quarter, Fastenal's gross margin was 48.1% compared to 49.1% one year ago.
Fastenal Company (FAST) shares ended the week at $52.07, down 7.4% for the week.
The Dow started the week of 10/8 at 26,399 and closed at 25,340 on 10/12. The S&P 500 started the week at 2,878 and closed at 2,767. The NASDAQ started
the week at 7,747 and closed at 7,497.
Treasury Yields Rebound
After hovering around multiyear highs at the start of the week, yields on U.S. Treasury bonds retreated on Thursday following the release of new consumer
price data. On Friday, yields began rising yet again as stocks stabilized and investors' risk appetites increased.
After a six-day losing streak, the S&P 500 rebounded on Friday, lessening investor demand for safe-haven government bonds. As a result, the 10-year
Treasury note yield was trading 3.6 basis points higher at 3.17% on Friday morning, while the yield on the 30-year bond rose 3.7 basis points to 3.34%.
"Solid bank earnings, Chinese trade data and excessively oversold conditions is charging the equity rebound," said Ben Emons, chief economist at Intellectus
Partners LLC. "All of these set in motion what you could dub as a 'stock reflation' trade after several days of brutal moves."
On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that the consumer price index rose 0.1% in September, missing the 0.2% forecasted and falling short of the 0.2%
increase one month earlier. The data caused investors to question whether inflation is actually accelerating and cast doubt on how many interest rate hikes
are in store for 2019.
After the data was released, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell from 3.19% to 3.14%. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
"Yields have pulled back and you have softer inflation data" said Minh Trang, senior foreign exchange trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara,
California. "This puts a question on the number of Fed rate hikes in 2019."
The 10-year Treasury note yield closed at 3.15% on 10/12, while the 30-year Treasury bond yield was 3.32%.
Mortgage Rates Rise
Freddie Mac released its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) on Thursday, October 11. The report revealed that mortgage rates have risen to their
highest levels in seven years.
The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.90% this week, up from 4.71% last week. During this time last year, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged
This week, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.29%, up from last week when it averaged 4.15%. Last year at this time, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage
"Rising rates paired with high and escalating home prices is putting downward pressure on purchase demand," said Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.
"While the monthly payment remains affordable due to the still low mortgage rate environment, the primary hurdle for many borrowers today is the down
payment and that is the reason home sales have decreased in many high-priced markets."
Based on published national averages, the money market account closed at 1.22% on 10/12. The 1-year CD finished at 2.57%.
Published October 12, 2018
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