JC Penney (JCP) shares are down more than 3% in early trading. Penney looks like it's been loafing, based on its quarterly report. The company released earnings, or a lack of them, after yesterday's closing bell. It lost $1.58 a share, more than twice the amount a year ago. In addition, revenue fell to $2.64 billion, a drop of 16%. Some other fast facts for you: sales at stores open more than a year are down 17%; gross margins were 30.8%, down nearly 7%; and the company is still paying for its bungled overhaul, shelling out $72-million dollars in restructuring and management transition charges.
Now to another disaster: Dell (DELL) which has reported an 80% plunge in profits. Even when you exclude items the company fell far short on earnings posting 21-cents a share when the concensus was for 35-cents. Dell actually beat on revenues. So, what happened? Gross margin shrank to nearly 2% to 19.5%. Meanwhile, operating expenses rose 12%. The good news is that strength in Dell's "enterprise solutions business" offset declining PC sales. Of course all this is taking place as activist investor Carl Icahn tries to one-up company founder Michael Dell who wants to take company private again for $13.65 a share. That proposal is probably what's keeping shares perched above $13.
App developers have their eyes on a new prize: Google Glass (GOOG). Seven new apps are now in development for the newfangled eyewear. They'll join The New York Times and Path, which are the only two apps already available for Google's goggles. The new apps include CNN, Facebook, Twitter, and also Tumblr which according to All Things D could be the next acquisition by our company, Yahoo!
Bill Gates has regained top billing on the list of the world's richest people. Gates has a fatter wallet than Mexico's Carlos Slim thanks to a rise in Microsoft's (MSFT) stock price. This is according to the Bloomberg billionaire's index which puts his net worth at $72.7-billion clams. Microsoft stock has climbed 28% year to date, adding about 10-billion greenbacks to Gate's mountain of cash.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Nordstrom (JWN) has been down more than 3% ahead of the bell. The luxury retail chain had a rare miss for the quarter, making 73-cents a share on $2.75-billion. Nordstrom says sales of seasonal products have been down. The chain is also lowering its outlook for revenues, though it's maintaining expectations for earnings. So far this year Nordstrom pretty much performed in line with the market, rising about 14%.
Next up is Autodesk (ADSK) which was down as much as 6% in early trading. Autodesk missed estimates when it reported earnings last night. The software ompany says it made 42-cents a share when concensus was for 45-cents. Perhaps even more troubling to shareholders, Autodesk is now lowering its full year forecast, despite the fact that its primary rival Adobe Systems has raised its outlook. Autodesk hit its 52-week high back in March. But has been trading pretty close to the level again.
Now Dish Network (DISH) which is trying to get Japan's Softbank eliminated from their mutual contest to acquire Sprint Nextel. It's citing reports that Softbank warned several Wall Street banks not to back Dish's bid. According to those reports Softbank said it would otherwise block the banks from getting-in on an Alibaba IPO. Softbank owns 1/3 of Alibaba.
Finally, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride as we take another look at Tesla (TSLA). This morning it's up another 2%. Yesterday the stock started lower, but then climbed almost 9%. Over the past week it's up more than 29%. Year-to-date shares of Tesla are up 160%.
- Information Technology