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Wall Street Advances on Fed's Decision

- By Omar Venerio

U.S. stocks were in positive territory on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated it will not raise interest rates in 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.13% to 25,920, the S&P 500 index gained 0.32% to 2,842 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.63% to 7,772.

Shares of General Mills Inc. (GIS) gained about 3% on Wednesday after the company reported third-quarter results. Revenue grew 8.2% from the prior-year quarter to $4.2 billion, falling $10 million short of expectations. The company recorded earnings of 83 cents per share, beating estimates by 14 cents.


"We had a strong third quarter, with positive organic sales growth and significant operating margin expansion," said CEO Jeff Harmening.

By segment, net sales in Europe and Australia fell 8% to $433 million. In Asia and Latin America, net sales declined 2% to $428 million. In the Pet division, revenue reached $347 million.

During the quarter, the gross margin rose 200 basis points to 34.4% of net sales. The adjusted gross margin increased 170 basis points to 34.2% due to cost savings and benefits from net price realization and mix.

The operating profit reached $651 million, up 14% from last year despite a loss on the sale of La Saltena in Argentina. The adjusted operating profit was $730 million, an increase of 25%, and the operating profit margin of 15.5% increased 80 basis points. The adjusted operating profit margin inched up 230 basis points to 17.4%.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company expects Blue Buffalo's net sales and segment operating profit growth to accelerate meaningfully, driven by significant distribution expansion in the FDM channel.

Gainers

  • Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)
  • Noble Energy Inc. (NBL)
  • Devon Energy Corp. (DVN)
  • EOG Resources Inc. (EOG)
  • Concho Resources Inc. (CXO)
  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG)



Losers

  • Viacom Inc. (VIAB)
  • FedEx Corp. (FDX)
  • Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG)
  • General Motors Co. (GM)
  • Humana Inc. (HUM)



Global markets

The main European stock markets traded lower. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.45%, France's CAC 40 declined 0.80%, Germany's Dax tumbled 1.57% and Spain's IBEX 35 lost 0.91%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.20%, India's BSE Sensex advanced 0.06%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.49% and China's Shanghai Composite dipped 0.01%.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in any stocks mentioned.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.