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Barrick Gold's Q2 2017 Earnings Review: Superior Cost Performance Of Mining Operations Drives Earnings Improvement
Barrick Gold reported an improvement in its second quarter earnings result, driven by the superior cost performance of its operations in the absence of any significant growth in gold prices. The company reported a 9% year-over-year decline in the all-in sustaining costs metric, which is a comprehensive measure of all costs required to sustain ongoing mining operations. The decline in costs was driven by a higher share of production from Barrick’s low-cost mining operations in Nevada relative to last year, where the mining of higher grade ores boosted output and lowered unit costs. In addition, Barrick’s technology-driven operational improvements also contributed to the lowering of operational costs. Barrick Gold continued to make strides towards its target of lowering outstanding debt from around $ 8 billion at the end of 2016 to $5 billion at the end of 2018. The proceeds from the sales of the company’s interests in the Veladero mine and the Cerro Casale project in Q2 augmented by operating cash flows should allow for the accomplishment of half of the debt reduction target by the end of 2017 itself. Debt management and cost reduction should stand the company in good stead going forward as the upside for gold prices remains limited in the near term. Steady U.S. economic and jobs growth has prompted the Fed to tighten the interest rate regime with rates expected to rise over the course of 2018 and 2019 post a 25 basis point hike over the rest of 2017. This is expected to limit the growth in gold prices over the next couple of years, as illustrated by our forecast for the same. Thus, Barrick’s debt reduction and cost management efforts will certainly put the company in a good position to weather a period of weak pricing growth. Have more questions about Barrick Gold? See the links below. Why Did Barrick Sell Off A 25% Stake In The Cerro Casale Mining Project? Gold Prices To Average Lower This Year As Fed Maintains Interest Rate Hike Outlook Notes: See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology    
Dunkin’ Brands Q2 2017 Results: Declining Traffic Leads To Disappointing Comp Growth
Dunkin’ Brands  (NASDAQ: DNKN) reported its Q2 2017 results on July 27 th and the company missed both revenue and EPS (earning per share) analyst estimates for this quarter. Further its disappointing comparable sales growth continued for this quarter as its Baskin-Robbins U.S. segment reported a 0.9% decline in comparable sales and Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. comparable sales grew only by 0.8%. The company’s ticket growth was offset by traffic declines, leading to slower comp growth. Further, the company faced a slight headwind from the weather in May, cooler weather in core markets impacted traffic. Below is a summary of Dunkin’ Brands financial performance for Q2 2017: In Q2 2017, the company’s system wide sales grew by 6% in the U.S. driven by new store growth and comparable sales growth. Comparable sales growth was driven by breakfast sandwich sales and the company’s Cold Brew platform. The launch of frozen coffee was successful and the company is likely to build it further going forward. Dunkin’ Brands expects a low single digit growth in comparable sales for 2017. Below is a segment-wise summary of the company’s comparable sales growth for Q2 2017: The negative comparable sales growth for Baskin-Robbins was due to a decline in traffic offset by increased ticket size. The international segment of this brand performed better as the focus on value created a positive impact in Japan and Korea. Below is a summary of the company’s segment-wise revenues for Q3 2017:   Going Forward Dunkin’ Brands revised its guidance of new restaurant openings from 385 to 330-350 this year as it looks to redesign its restaurants and strike a balance between renewal of existing contracts by franchisees and expansion. The company wants to ensure that its franchisees have the necessary capital to implement the new design of its restaurants while opening stores. Further, as contract renewals become due, the company wants to ensure that franchisees focus on contract renewal as against new openings, to ensure maximum renewals. However, this change does not impact the company’s revenue and EPS guidance for 2017. The company will continuing focusing on its core strengths – coffee including the frozen coffee innovation and the ready to drink segment, donuts – offering fun and innovative products under this category and value offerings – such as the 2 for $2 Wake-up Wrap. Dunkin’ Brands will continue its menu simplification efforts as it builds its next wave of innovation as a beverage led, On-the-Go brand. The company is also looking to provide maximum convenience to its customers in terms of ordering and payment to develop itself as an On-the–Go brand. See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
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Cliffs Natural Resources' Q2 2017 Earnings Review: Favorable Business Conditions In The U.S. Drive Earnings Growth
Cliffs reported a substantial improvement in its second quarter earnings result, driven by the superior performance of its U.S. Iron Ore operations. Cliffs’ U.S. operations benefited from the favorable prevailing business conditions for steelmakers, with higher demand for iron ore, a raw material used in the production of steel, by the company’s customers driving growth in the shipments of the U.S. Iron Ore division. In addition, the U.S. Iron Ore division reported a sharp increase in realized prices, in contrast to the decline reported by the Asia Pacific Iron Ore division. Cliffs’ U.S. Iron Ore operations enjoy significant advantages over its Asia Pacific operations. The U.S. operations sell iron ore pellets, a value-added product directly used in blast furnaces, while the Asia Pacific operations are involved in the production and sale of iron ore fines, which require further processing. The U.S. operations are characterized by pricing contracts that are more closely linked to demand-supply dynamics in the U.S. as opposed to the Asia Pacific operations, which are subject to pricing contracts closely linked to the demand-supply dynamics in the international seaborne market for iron ore. In addition, the U.S. operations are characterized by longer term pricing contracts as compared to the Asia Pacific operations (pricing for which is largely linked to spot prices), which translates into more stable price realizations for the U.S. operations vis-a-vis the Asia Pacific operations.  In addition, Cliffs’ Asia Pacific operations are subject to direct competition from iron ore majors such as Vale, Rio Tinto, and BHP Billiton, whereas the company is the largest iron ore producer in the U.S. The seaborne iron ore market has been characterized by oversupplied conditions in recent years, which has adversely impacted pricing realizations for the Asia Pacific division. Given Cliffs’ competitive advantages in the U.S., the company management reiterated its commitment to focus on its U.S. operations going forward. The company’s Asia Pacific operations are expected to cease production in the next 2-3 years in the absence of additional development activities. Given the favorable business conditions in the U.S., enabled by regulatory action taken by trade authorities against unfairly traded steel imports over the course of the past year, Cliffs’ U.S.-centric strategy should translate into favorable results in the coming quarters. Have more questions about Cliffs Natural Resources? See the links below. Price Taker Versus Price Maker: The Perils Of Being An Iron Ore Producer Iron Ore & Crude Oil: The Similarities & Differences In The Market Dynamics Of These Commodities Notes: See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
Travelzoo's Management Promises To Turn Things Around In The Backdrop Of Yet Another Disappointing Quarter
Travelzoo’s travails seem to be far from over. Even after three years since the time it launched its hotel booking platform and started revamping its offerings, the company is yet to see a growth in revenues. The second quarter once again was no exception. Its Global CEO, Holger Bartel, expressed disappointment over the company’s weak performance. Though positive trends continued in North America, the y-o-y revenue growth still remains elusive for the company. The overall company revenue declined by 11% y-o-y to $26.4 million in Q2 2017 and its earnings per share from continued operations declined by ~ 62% to $0.05. The number of subscribed members on its platform increased slightly to 29.3 million from 28.9 million in the same quarter last year. Travelzoo is taking region specific measures such as hiring managers in Asia Pacific markets, introducing new mobile applications in China, as well as global measures such as expanded offerings, better member perks etc. to recover from the slump. It is also looking out for acquisition options to help it grow further. The management has chalked out a growth path that, it says, might show some recovery over the next six to twelve months. We believe it is high time something positive happens to Travelzoo before a bigger player decides to take it over. Lukewarm Performance Across Markets With Asia Pacific Being The Worst Performer Revenues in Asia Pacific were down by 16% in constant currency terms due to understaffed offices in the region. The new general managers hired in Australia and Hong Kong are expected to turn around the situation in Asia. Revenues in North America and Europe declined by 7% and 9% y-o-y on a constant currency terms, respectively. While the former suffered from flat travel revenues, the latter was impacted by seasonal sluggishness and a lack of traction for packaged deals. Initiatives Expected To Improve Performance Over The Next Six To Twelve Months The expanded offerings and the added exclusive perks to memberships are some of the measures that the company has planned on taking to improve traction on its platform. Though the booking from the hotel and search platforms are currently on the rise, an accelerated growth rate is what the company is aiming for right now. New features, such as members being able to book deals from around the world and global hotel suppliers adding deals on the platform more easily, will help both the demand and the supply side. The packaged vacation offerings are also being expanded. Though the company has been trying these measures, the rate of growth is still far from satisfactory. It might be because of that reason that it is now looking out for acquisition targets. There is also a updated mobile application that will be initially launched in the China market.   Notes: See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
Films, Theme Parks, Broadband To Drive Future Growth For Comcast
Comcast  (NASDAQ:CMCSA) released its Q2 earnings on July 27, beating analyst earnings estimates by 4 cents per share, driven by a 9.8% y-o-y rise in revenues and a 10% surge in adjusted EBITDA. The top line increase was led by the Theme Parks business, which saw a 15.6% increase in revenue compared to the same period last year. The Filmed Entertainment business was boosted by the success of Fate of the Furious, and saw 59% year on year growth. These factors were primarily responsible for a more than 17% rise in NBCUniversal divisional revenue. The Cable Communications business also saw growth of 5.5%, led by 12.6% and 9.2% growth in business services and high speed internet, respectively. Going forward, we believe that the company’s increased investments in the Theme Parks business, as well as continued high-speed internet momentum, will remain key growth drivers for Comcast. See our complete analysis for Comcast Theme Parks Continue To Grow With an increase in disposable income per capita around the world, there has been steady growth momentum in the Theme Park business. According to Strategyr, the amusement and theme park market is expected to reach $44.3 billion by the end of 2020. To take advantage of this opportunity, Comcast has been increasing its investments in this business, and as a result, it expects a 10% surge in NBCUniversal’s capex in 2017. The company aims to add one new attraction each year in the U.S. to boost its share in this growing market. Additionally, China will be an important market for theme parks, as the business is expected to grow at over 12% annually in the country over the next few years. Both Walt Disney and Comcast have identified this opportunity; in fact, Disney’s theme park in Shanghai is projected to reach break even in fiscal 2017. Comcast has planned a $3.3 billion investment to build a theme park in Beijing by 2020. These initiatives will likely impact free cash flows negatively in the near term, but that should be outweighed by double digit revenue growth over the long run. High Speed Internet Still Growing  While cord cutting resulted in the loss of 47,000 residential video customers for Comcast, it was more than offset by the net addition of 140,000 new residential high speed internet customers. This was driven in part by xFi, the company’s new residential high speed WiFi service. We expect this, plus growth in the company’s MVNO Xfinity Mobile, to drive the high-speed internet business going forward. Global Large Cap  |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap  |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research      
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ConocoPhillips Returns To Profitability Driven By Its Alaska Operations; Cuts Capex Guidance For 2017
Taking the market by surprise,  ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), one of the largest independent oil and gas companies, reported a strong set of financial performance for its June quarter 2017 on 27th July 2017. Despite the slowdown in recovery of commodity prices in the second quarter, the US-based company posted a remarkable revenue growth, both annually as well as sequentially, driven by its Alaska operations. Further, the oil and gas producer continued to reduce its break-even costs by improving its operational efficiency, which resulted in adjusted profit of 14 cents, as opposed to a loss of 2 cents anticipated by the analysts. In addition, the company made solid progress in restructuring its capital structure and enhancing shareholders’ return by paring down its debt and repurchasing its own stock. See Our Complete Analysis For ConocoPhillips Here Operational Highlights ConocoPhillips reported 2Q’17 revenue of $8.88 billion, almost 60% higher compared to the revenue of the same quarter of last year, beating the market expectations by a notable margin. The 7% drop in the company’s production volume was more than offset by higher price realizations across commodities compared to the year ago quarter, resulting in this sharp rise in the company’s top-line. While the oil and gas producer continued to control its operating costs, its earnings  (GAAP) more than tripled to $3.4 billion in the quarter. This was largely driven by one-time special items such as impairment of its Australian LNG project, impairment charge on San Juan and Barnett dispositions, and premiums on early debt retirement, partially offset by gains from the Canada sale. The company’s operating cash flows of $1.75 billion for the quarter exceeded its capital spending and dividend payments of $1.35 billion. This is the fourth consecutive quarter when the company has managed to generate enough cash flows to fund its dividend and capital spending needs. Enhancing Capital Structure & Shareholders’ Return During the quarter, ConocoPhillips closed the sale of its Canadian oil sand assets to Cenovus for $13.3 billion. In addition, the E&P company announced the sale of its  San Juan Basin assets  and Barnett assets  to further shrink its exposure to North American gas markets. Further, the company also signed an agreement in July for the sale of Panhandle. Cumulatively, these deals will allow the company to close divestments of more than $16 billion by the end of 2017. ConocoPhillips utilized the proceeds of its asset sales to reduce its long term debt by $3 billion during the second quarter, bringing down the overall debt balance to $23.5 billion at the end of the quarter. The company plans to retire another $2.4 billion of debt in the third quarter and reduce the long term debt to less than $20 billion by the end of 2017. Apart from paring down its debt, the company repurchased $1 billion of its shares in the June quarter, reducing the share count by 2% from the previous quarter. The company is on track to achieve its share repurchase target of $3 billion by the end of the year. Guidance Revision Following the footsteps of its competitor, Anadarko Petroleum, ConocoPhillips reduced its capital spending budget from $5 billion to $4.8 billion for the current fiscal year. This decision is driven by the uncertainty regarding the pace of recovery of commodity prices in the near term. Further, considering the aggressive asset sales announced in first half of the year and the efficiency gains experienced by the company, it has increased the full year 2017 production guidance from 1,145-1,175 MBOED to 1,340-1,370 MBOED. Also, the company expects its adjusted operating costs and depreciation to come in lower-than-expected due to the impact of its divestment program. View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap  |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap  |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research
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Sprint's Postpaid Adds In Focus As Competition And Promotions Mount
Sprint  (NYSE:S), the smallest of the four nationwide U.S. wireless carriers, is expected to publish its fiscal Q1 results on August 1, reporting on a quarter that saw relatively intense competitive activity in the U.S. wireless market. While we expect Sprint’s net losses to narrow year-over-year, amid operating cost reductions and revenue growth from its recent postpaid subscriber additions, there is a possibility that postpaid phone net additions will be somewhat muted this quarter. Below we take a look at some of the key factors to watch as the carrier publishes earnings. See our complete analysis for Verizon  |  AT&T | T-Mobile |  Sprint   We have a $8 price estimate for Sprint, which is slightly below the current market price. Postpaid Phone Business Could Fend Off Competition With Aggressive Promotions While Sprint largely turned around its postpaid phone business, posting average net additions of ~300k over the last three quarters of FY’16, its net adds slowed down considerably for the quarter ended March 2017, coming in at just ~42k. It is possible that the company will face further pressure during Q1, with competitive activity mounting. This will mark the first full quarter since the AT&T and Verizon unveiled unlimited plans, after a hiatus of close to five years, potentially reducing the need for customers to defect to smaller rivals such as Sprint. That said, Sprint’s unlimited plans remain the cheapest in the market, and the carrier has been offering extremely aggressive promotions to bring new subscribers on board. For instance, in June, Sprint offered Verizon subscribers who switched to its network a full free year of unlimited voice and data service for up to five lines, with practically no contractual commitments. While plans such as these could hurt Sprint’s revenue growth and ARPU in the medium-term, they should help in terms of subscriber acquisitions (related: Is Sprint Going Too Far To Win Over Subscribers With Free Service? ). Prepaid Business Could See Further Recovery  The prepaid phone segment has been a source of growth in the U.S. wireless market in recent years and Sprint has generally underperformed its peers, as it de-emphasized the pay-as-you-go segment, letting go of many lower-value customers. However, the business turned a corner during fiscal Q4 (quarter ended March 2017), adding around 180k prepaid subscribers, compared to a loss of roughly 264k subscribers in the prior year period. The growth was driven by Sprint’s premium prepaid brands – the Boost brand (which has ARPU of close to $40) saw net subscriber adds during Q1, while the Virgin brand saw lower subscriber losses. We will be closely watching the progress of the carrier’s prepaid brands this quarter. View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research
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AB InBev's Revenues Rise Despite Market Share Loss In The US
Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) delivered mixed second quarter results on July 27, posting earnings of $0.95, 2 cents short of expectation, and revenues of $14.18 billion, in line with estimates. As expected, the growth accelerated in the quarter, driven by premiumization efforts, which helped boost the growth in both developed and developing economies.   The company was able to deliver substantial growth in profits, from $152 million in the corresponding prior year quarter to $1.5 billion, as a result of its merger with SABMiller. The integration of the two companies is carrying on as planned, with savings of $335 million reported in the quarter, far more than the first quarter’s figures. Earlier in the year, the company raised its savings target from $2 billion to $2.8 billion; however, given the significant savings already captured, it is highly likely the end total exceeds $2.8 billion. Since the combination of the two beer giants, the company sells twice as much beer as its next closest rival – Heineken. Looking ahead, the second half of the year looks bright for the company, given the strong growth rates achieved in China, Europe, and its new market – South Africa. Furthermore, its bigger brands, such as Stella, Corona, Budweiser, and Hoegaarden, are expected to drive growth in the future. Global Brands Lead The Brigade Revenues of the three global brands of the company – Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois – increased almost 9%. Budweiser revenues grew by 5.7%, with 11.7% growth in revenues outside of the US. This was driven by strong growth in China, as well as improvement in Brazil and the UK. Stella Artois revenues grew by 6.6%, driven mainly by growth in Argentina and South Korea. Corona had a solid quarter as well, with revenues growing 16.6%, with 26.2% growth in revenues outside of Mexico, as a result of strong growth in the UK, Australia, and China. The company continues to fuel the growth of these brands by leveraging their enormous commercial platforms, while also expanding to new markets such as Australia, Peru, Colombia, and South Africa. US & Brazil Disappoint, But Other Markets Deliver Slowdown in the sales in the US, at a higher rate than that in the market, resulted in market share loss of ~105 basis points in the quarter, and 85 basis points in the first half. Despite soft top line results in the US, margins improved as a result of better cost management, and increased sales of its ‘Above Premium’ segment. Beer volumes increased, with significant growth seen in South Africa, Mexico, and Australia, despite a decline witnessed in the US, Brazil, and Colombia. Brazil was the only market to see profit declines, owing to a challenging political and macroeconomic environment. Diversifying The Portfolio BUD recently announced the acquisition of organic energy drink maker Hiball, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. While this is a small deal ( Hiball has 20 employees and had sales of $40 million in the past 12 months ), it is newsworthy as it implies a move towards non-beer categories. The company may also want to jump on the organic/natural drinks bandwagon. Anheuser has the distribution network to make Hiball increase its scale immensely. The company already sells carbonated soft drinks in the Latin American market, where it is a bottler for PepsiCo. BUD also struck a deal with Starbucks last year to make, bottle, and distribute the ready-to-drink Teavana tea line. The company is also trying to make in-roads in the craft beer industry, with partnerships with 10 craft breweries. The company’s craft portfolio is growing ahead of the industry, at double digit rates, driven by organic growth, as well as expanded distribution. Have more questions on Anheuser-Busch InBev? See the links below. Here’s How AB InBev Trimmed Business To Make Room For SABMiller The Year That Was: Anheuser-Busch InBev Brazil Slowdown Weighs On AB InBev’s Financials, As Earnings Decline By More Than Expected Notes: Get Trefis Technology
Key Trends To Watch As Apple Reports Q3 Earnings
Apple  (NASDAQ:AAPL) is scheduled to publish its Q3 fiscal 2017 earnings on August 1, reporting on a quarter that is typically seasonally soft for the company, as it prepares to launch its updated iPhones in the fall. Apple has guided for revenues of between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion for the quarter, marking an improvement of around 5% at the mid-point over last year. Below we take a look at some of the key factors we will be watching when the company publishes earnings.
Yahoo! Japan: Mobile Boosts Revenues Across Advertising, Commerce Businesses
Yahoo Japan Corporation  (OTC:YAHOY) reported its fiscal Q1 results on July 28. The company reported that its revenues grew 4.1% year over year (but a 4.5% decline Q-o-Q) to ¥212.73 billion ($1.91 billion). Additionally, operating income grew by 2.2% y-o-y to ¥52.2 billion ($470 million). Mobile revenues continued to boost overall revenues during the quarter as consumers increasingly used smartphones for shopping and browsing. The key takeaways from the earnings are as follows: Mobile transactions accounted for over 52%  of the company’s transaction value for the quarter. Furthermore, the increasing penetration of mobile devices aided in the growth of mobile ad revenue, as the smartphone revenue ratio continued to exceed 54% and contributed ¥38.6 billion (54.8%) to ad revenues. The company is increasing its content, especially video content, for the mobile platform. As a result, 66% of Yahoo! Japan’s daily unique users use mobile phones (60.29 million). The company will likely be able to leverage its position in the Japanese Internet landscape to drive mobile revenue growth in the coming years. The company’s transaction value across the shopping, auction, and listing businesses grew by 16% year over year to ¥498 billion ($4.48 billion). A successful collaboration with Softbank helped the company to post 40% growth in its shopping transaction value to ¥140 billion ($1.26 billion). Additionally, with an increase in the number of stores (store ids grew by 32% to 558,140), the number of products listed on Yahoo! Sites swelled to 290 million (28% growth). Since online sales only account for 5% of all retail sales in Japan, the untapped market for the company presents a huge opportunity to grow its business in the coming years. In Q1, the credit card transaction value for the company increased by 104% to ¥211.9 billion ($1.90 billion) as the number of valid card holders increased by 50% to 3.82 million. The number of Yahoo Wallet Accounts (37.32 million accounts) and transaction value (¥321.8 billion) also grew during the quarter, signaling strong adoption in the Japanese market. This translates into ¥861 per account, up from ¥823 a year ago. We expect this trend to continue in the coming quarters. See our complete analysis of Yahoo! JAPAN here   Understand How a Company’s Products Impact its Stock Price at Trefis View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap  |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap  |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research


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