General Mills Serves Up 60.8% Net Profit; Vale to Add 62,000 New Jobs; Berkshire Takes Stake in Marmon; Oil Drips Lower; Gold Loses Luster; Tata Communications Launches & Slumps; Cheaper Coffee at Starbucks; Nike Hits $1 Billion in China
- General Mills Inc. (GIS) offset the soaring cost of wheat with cost-cutting measures and increased sales, resulting in a net profit gain of $430 million, or $1.23 a share, a 60.8% increase from its fiscal third quarter the previous year, Reuters reported. The Minneapolis-based food maker expects costs to continue rising, but expects full-year profits of $3.45 to $3.47, on target with analysts’ expectations.
- The world’s largest iron ore producer, Vale (RIO), said it plans to add 62,000 jobs over the next five years, Bloomberg reported. The Brazil-based mining company recently boosted its output to meet soaring global demand. Jobs will be added in Brazil, the United States, England, Australia and Canada.
- Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B) and Marmon Holdings, Inc. announced that Berkshire has successfully completed its acquisition of 60% of Marmon for $4.5 billion. The remaining 40% of Marmon will be acquired through staged acquisitions over a five to six years. Marmon Group is an international association of more than 125 manufacturing and service businesses.
- Oil prices pulled back yesterday (Wednesday) after the government released data suggesting that the high price of oil and gasoline are depressing demand. Overall consumption of oil and its products fell by 3.2% over the last four weeks compared to the same period last year, the Energy Information Administration said. Demand for gasoline fell by 1% over the same period.
- Gold futures plummeted to a three-week low yesterday (Wednesday) after a U.S. interest rate cut temporarily calmed distressed financial markets. Gold for April delivery fell $60.80 to $943.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after trading as low as $940 earlier in the day. Gold hit an all-time high of $1,033.90 on Monday, after emergency action was taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Shares of Tata Communications Ltd. (TCL) slumped over 17% yesterday (Wednesday), losing $5.07 to close at $24.48 the day of the launch of its global TelePresence network service, which has achieved Cisco Certified TelePresence Connection status, The Financial Express reported. Tata Communications is the first Asia-based service provider to achieve Cisco Certified TelePresence Connection status, which enables the delivery of the Cisco TelePresence solution.
- Speaking at an annual shareholder meeting, Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) Chief Executive Officer said the retail coffee giant would lower prices and offer discounts in hopes of reaching out to a consumer that is "in a recession", Bloomberg News reported. "We are dealing with things that we haven't seen before in terms of how people are responding to how tough it is," Schultz said. Starbucks shares are down almost 15% year-to-date.
- Nike Inc. (NKE) sales have reached $1 billion in China, Chief Executive Officer said yesterday (Wednesday) speaking on a conference call, Reuters reported. Sales in China were boosted by a weak greenback and helped fuel a 32% surge in quarterly net profit.