Headlines this morning include bad news from Best Buy and Boeing, new jobs at Ford, layoffs at American Express, issues for Blackberry users in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and an earnings beat from Wells Fargo.
Electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) lowered its forecast for free cash flow for 2013 to about $500 million for the year ending Feb. 2, from a previous forecast for free cash flow from $850 million o $1.05 billion. The company said it had to pay for inventory earlier than expected after receiving it earlier than anticipated. The company also saw a shift in sales toward higher-velocity products that have shorter payment terms. Revenue was 0.4% lower in the nine weeks ended Jan. 5, while same-store sales were flat in the U.S. and 6.4% internationally.
Two more of Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner jets had problems on Friday, punctuating a bad week for the company's new flagship airliner. A domestic All Nippon Airways flight developed a crack in its windshield while another plane operated by the same airline was found to be leaking oil from one of its engines. This week's string of mishaps has prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to launch an investigation into the review of the plane focusing on its electrical systems and the quality controls used in building the plane.
Automaker Ford (F) which announced an increase to its dividend on Thursday, said Friday that it will add 2,200 salaried jobs in the U.S. this year. Those new jobs are in addition to the 8,100 positions the company added in the U.S. in 2012.
Credit card issuer American Express (AXP) said late Thursday that it plans to cut 5,400 jobs, or about 8.5% of its workforce. The company will take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter in connection with the restructuring. Most of the company's cuts are in its travel business, which has been hurt recently by the ability of consumers to make travel arrangements online. The company also said it will pay $153 million to customers whose accounts were wrongly charged after an internal review prompted by a regulatory segment last year. The company will take a total of $895 million in charges in the fourth quarter in connection with severance, revamping its member-reward program and customer refunds. As a result, the company said fourth-quarter profit will drop to $637 million or 56 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn $1.06 per share for the fourth quarter.
Research in Motion
Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIMM) has been hit by problems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Some users are seeing issues with email and instant messaging according to a spokesperson for Vodafone Group (VOD).
Wells Fargo (WFC) reported fourth-quarter earnings of 91 cents per share, compared to 73 cents per share in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected the company to earn 89 cents per share. Revenue rose to $21.9 billion, a seven percent increase. The company has expanded its mortgage origination operations recently and accounted for about a third home loans originated in September. The company said net income at its community banking division rose by 14%, while non-interest income in the mortgage banking division rose by $261 million to $3.1 billion in the third quarter. Wholesale banking net income rose 24% to $2.03 billion and earnings at the company wealth and brokerage division rose by 13% to $351 million.