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October 21, 2014 - US Stockmarket Update
Stocks Jump; ECB, Earnings in Focus By Morningstar Investment Research
U.S. Market - Stocks were higher today morning amidst earnings and talk of additional stimulus from the European Central Bank.
Existing home sales were up 2.4% in September from August levels. Economists had expected a more modest 1% rise. Sales are still off 1.7% year-over-year as tight credit and higher prices slows down sales.
At market close the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 1.3%, 2.0% and 2.4% respectively.
Stocks on the Move
Although expectations for McDonald's (MCD) were low following recent U.S. comparable sales trends and external issues in international markets (food supplier issues in China, geopolitical issues in Russia), the third-quarter update paints a picture of a company struggling to keep pace with evolving consumer tastes and a competitive global restaurant landscape. The comparable sales decline of 3.3% (-3.3% U.S., -1.4% Europe, -9.9% APMEA) was in line with our expectations, though combined operating margins were a bit worse than forecast (29.7%, a decline of 330 basis points) due to temporary external factors.
Apple (AAPL) reported strong September quarterly results. Apple sold 39 million iPhone units in the September quarter, up 16% from the year-ago quarter, while average selling prices also rose 4% thanks to strong sales of newer iPhones during the last 11 days of the quarter. Mac was the pleasant surprise, with revenue up 18% annually, far outpacing the overall PC industry. IPad sales continue to lag, however, with revenue down 14% from the year-ago quarter. Apple also bought back another $17 billion of stock. Meanwhile, Apple will also plow some of its excess cash back into the business, as operating expenses should rise 24% annually. Apple shares were up 2.7% at midday.
Shares of Coca-Cola (KO) fell over 6% after the firm reported top-line challenges in its third quarter, with adjusted 1% year-over-year revenue growth reflecting slowing price/mix and volume growth and further foreign currency headwinds. The company reiterated its long-run high-single-digit EPS growth target though the structure has changed slightly. The firm now expects net revenue growth in the mid-single-digit range (versus about 6% previously). Mitigating this factor, management also extended its annual savings target to $3 billion by 2019 (and $2 billion by 2017) from a prior expectation of $1 billion by the end of 2016.
Chipotle's (CMG) third quarter cemented its position as one of the most impressive stories in the restaurant industry today, with same-store sales growth of 19.8% and operating margin expense leverage of more than 250 basis points to 19.1% (despite beef, avocado, and dairy food cost headwinds), reinforcing our narrow moat rating. Shares fell nearly 7% on the report.
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