Thursday, May 1, 2008

Global Investing Roundups

52-Week T-Bill is Back; Sweet-Smelling Deal for FTD; First Family of Oil Calls for Environmental Focus; Garmin Losing Track; PepsiCo. Stocking up on Water; Bovespa Hits Record on S&P Rating; Kraft Profit Tumbles 13%; Kellogg Profit Sheds 2%
  • The U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it would bring back the one-year Treasury bill at its next quarterly refunding auction, MarketWatch reported. "The majority of members believe that the addition of the year bill combined with increases to the size and frequency of existing coupon debt over coming quarters will still not be sufficient to satisfy the increased financing needs of the Treasury over the intermediate and longer term," a panel of experts said in a government report, stating the next option could be to bring back the 3-year note as well.

  • United Online Inc. (UNTD), the owner of Internet service providers NetZero and Juno, announced it would acquire online florist FTD Group Inc. (FTD) for about $456 million in cash, stock and notes, The Wall Street Journal reported. "This transaction will meaningfully diversify our revenue base within a large global market experiencing significant migration to the Internet," said United Online Chief Executive Mark R. Goldston.

  • Descendents of oil scion John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil from which both Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX) can trace early roots, have called upon Exxon to be more environmentally conscious, despite the company's record recent profits, Forbes reported. Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, a great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, said yesterday (Wednesday), "The truth is that Exxon Mobil is profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago, and by focusing on a narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world, including developing nations."

  • Slowing demand and increasing competition are to blame for Garmin Ltd. (GRMN), navigation device maker, to miss market estimates for the first quarter. Garmin's shares dropped as much as 14.4% on the day to its 52-week low of $39.75 a share as it posted a profit of $147.8 million, or 67 cents a share. Analysts expected the company to earn 74 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

  • Soft-drink titans PepsiCo. Inc. (PEP) and The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) continue to push their battle into uncharted waters, as Pepsi announced it acquired V Water, Britain's vitamin-enhanced bottled water, for an undisclosed amount. V Water is very similar to vitaminwater, which Coca-Cola bought last year for $4.1 billion. Sales of non-carbonated drinks are growing considerable faster than carbonated beverages, and Pepsi already owns SoBe Life Water, Gatorade sports drink and Aquafina bottled water.

  • Brazil's Bovespa stock index jumped to a record after Standard & Poor's unexpectedly raised the country's credit rating to investment grade. The Bovespa Index of the most-traded stocks on the Sao Paul exchange surged 6.38% to 67,896.13 at 3:32 pm EST, its biggest gain in three months.

  • Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) reported first-quarter profit of $608 million, a 13% drop from a year ago, yesterday (Wednesday). Though sales improved 21% despite economic pressures and rising commodities prices, as Kraft raised prices on 90% of its products.

  • Kellogg Co. (K) reported yesterday (Wednesday) that first-quarter profit fell 2% despite recent price increases. Net earnings fell to $315 million compared with $321 million a year ago. Earnings per share increased from 80 cents a share to 81 cents a share because of a $650 million share-repurchase program, the Associated Press reported.

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