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• On January 23 The Procter and Gamble Company (P&G) comfortably sailed past profit expectations for Fourth Quarter 2018, reporting organic revenue growth (i.e. removing the effects of currency fluctuations and buying and selling parts of the business) of four percent for the second consecutive quarter. Crucially, P&G said one percent of the increase was attributed to price increases on products like Pampers diapers. P&G also raised its organic growth expectations for the next two quarters. P&G’s shares rose 4.9 percent on the day.
• On January 30 Facebook, Inc. reported Fourth Quarter 2018 revenue and profit that was much better than expected, sending the stock price up 10.9 percent the next day. The number of daily scrollers and tappers across Facebook’s platforms was nine percent higher than the same period in 2017. Further, higher spending from advertisers helped Facebook’s revenue to exceed investors’ expectations – with Facebook‘s ‘Stories’ feature expected to become even bigger than the News Feed before long.
• On February 19 Walmart Inc., the world’s largest company by revenue, reported quarterly results that exceeded investors’ expectations. Walmart extended its record of growing sales in existing US stores for the 15th straight quarter by selling 4.2 percent more than a year ago. Walmart’s burgeoning e-commerce business continued at a high growth rate – and for the first time, Walmart’s
$14 billion majority stake in Indian retailer Flipkart showed up in earnings. Walmart’s shares climbed 2.2 percent on the news.
• On February 22 The Kraft Heinz Company revealed a trifecta of concerns in the Fourth Quarter 2018 earnings update. First, Kraft Heinz’s quarterly earnings were short of analysts’ expectations. Second, the company disclosed that US regulators are investigating some of its accounting policies. And third, Kraft Heinz posted a $13 billion loss after writing down the value of the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands by $15 billion. Kraft Heinz’ shares plummeted 27.5 percent on the day.
• On March 11 The Boeing Company’s shares fell 5.3 percent after another deadly crash involving one the company’s planes. The Ethiopian disaster was the second incident involving Boeing’s two-year-old 737 MAX 8 model in five months. Both planes were virtually new and both incidents occurred shortly after take-off.
• On March 11 US chipmaker Nvidia Corporation agreed to buy Israeli rival Mellanox Technologies Ltd. for $7 billion. The purchase of Mellanox, which makes cables and switches to transfer data, should help Nvidia shift focus more toward data centers. Nvidia reckons the deal will add to the bottom line straight off the bat which probably helped boost investors’ confidence. Nvidia’s shares rose 6.9 percent while those of Mellanox rose 7.8 percent on the day of announcement.