Earnings Roundup

Here’s a rundown of several key earnings reports from today:

General Mills 2Q profit rises on strong sales

General Mills, based in Minneapolis, reported that its earnings climbed to $565.5 million, or $1.66 per share, for the quarter that ended Nov. 29.

Excluding changes to write down the value of some assets, profit was $1.54 per share.

Sales increased 2 percent to $4.08 billion, partly on better cereal and snacks sales.

The results surpassed the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, as they forecast a profit of $1.45 per share on sales of $4.07 billion. These estimates usually exclude one-time items.

FedEx issues cautious 3Q forecast

In the September-to-November period, FedEx Corp. earned $345 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with $493 million, or $1.58 per share a year earlier. The results matched an announcement last week, when FedEx said earnings for the quarter would be higher than expected. Revenue fell 10 percent to nearly $8.6 billion.

Oracle’s Profit Climbs 12%

For the fiscal second quarter ended Nov. 30, Oracle reported earnings of $1.46 billion, or 29 cents a share, compared with $1.3 billion, or 25 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding stock-compensation, restructuring and acquisition-related costs, earnings grew to 39 cents from 34 cents.

Revenue increased 4% to $5.86 billion, but would have been flat if currency rates were constant.

Wall Street applauded the results, sending shares up 4% to $23.79 in after-hours trading Thursday. The stock is up about a third this year.

Nike earnings beat Street, shares climb 3 pct

Second-quarter net income fell 4 percent to $375 million, or 76 cents per share, from $391 million, or 80 cents per share, a year earlier. That was better than analysts’ average forecast of earnings of 71 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue slipped 4 percent to $4.4 billion, with sales down in every geographical area except for Nike’s emerging markets.

Revenue slid 4 percent in North America, 6 percent in Western Europe and 24 percent in Central and Eastern Europe. In China, a market with double-digit growth last year, sales fell 3 percent.

Revenues were up 1 percent in the historically fast-growing unit that sells non-Nike-branded goods.

RIM Forecasts Tops Analysts’ Estimates; Shares Jump

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry, surged in late trading after forecasting sales and profit for the current quarter that beat analysts’ estimates.

Sales in the three months ending in February will be $4.2 billion to $4.4 billion and earnings per share will be $1.23 to $1.31, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM said today in a statement. Analysts had projected sales of $4.12 billion and profit excluding some items of $1.12 a share, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Darden 2Q Profit Rises 1% On Lower Expenses; Sales Fall

For the quarter ended Nov. 29, Darden reported a profit of $60.3 million, up from $59.7 million a year earlier. Per-share results were unchanged at 43 cents as there were more shares outstanding in the most recent period.

Revenue decreased 1.7% to $1.64 billion as combined same-store sales at its three main chains fell 4.7%.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of 42 cents on revenue of $1.65 billion.

Total cost of sales slid 3% to $1.29 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Brad Richmond said sales trends in the industry improved sequentially in the period but were a little more sluggish than expected.

For the fiscal year, the company raised its earnings forecast, now projecting earnings from continuing operations to be flat to up 4%, compared with the prior view of a decline of 2% to 8%. However, it’s now looking for total sales to fall 2% to 3%, compared with the prior view for a decline of 2% to growth of 1%.

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