U.S. stocks were in the green on Wednesday on positive news amid advances on a potential Covid-19 vaccine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.23% to 25,872, the S&P 500 Index rose 0.51% to 3,115 and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.63% to 10,122.
- FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) +15%
- Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE:STZ) +8.1%
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) +5.2%
- TechnipFMC PLC (NYSE:FTI) +5.1%
- Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE:HST) +4.5%
- Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) -3.3%
- Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ:WDC) -3%
- Invesco Ltd. (NYSE:IVZ) -3.1%
The main European stock markets traded in the green.The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.47%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.49%, Germany's Dax was up 0.21% and Spain's Ibex 35 rose 0.58%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.75%, India's BSE Sensex gained 1.43%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.52% and China's Shanghai Composite advanced 1.38%.
General Mills releases earnings report
Shares of General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS) fell more than 1% on Wednesday morning after announcing fourth-quarter results the day before. It posted earnings of $1.10 per share, beating analysts' estimates by 4 cents. Revenue of $5.02 billion grew 20.7% year over year and beat expectations by $40 million.
CEO Jeff Harmening had the following to say:
"Amid significant challenge and change in the world around us, General Mills adapted and executed in fiscal 2020 to deliver outstanding financial results while fulfilling our purpose of making food the world loves. We've demonstrated extraordinary agility to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for food at home and to win across our categories."
Revenue growth included 7 points of growth from an extra week, offsetting a two-point loss from negative currency exchange fluctuations. Organic net sales increased 16%, including double-digit growth in organic pound volume.
The gross margin inched up 10 basis points to 35.2% of net sales and the adjusted gross margin reached 36.1%, up 80 basis points. The operating profit rose 16% to $830 million and the operating profit margin was down 70 basis points to 16.5%, while the adjusted operating profit of $888 million increased 24%. The adjusted operating profit margin was 17.7%, up 40 basis points.
In the North America retail segment, sales increased 36% to $3.20 billion. Organic net sales rose 28% due to a strong increase in organic pound volume. Net sales grew across all five operating units: 75% growth in U.S. Meals & Baking, 26% growth in U.S. Cereal, 12% growth in Canada, 10% growth in U.S. Snacks and 10% growth in U.S. Yogurt.
Hedge funds were active during the quarter ended March 31. Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio) reduced his holding by 4.1% to 63,259 shares. Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio) and Philippe Laffont (Trades, Portfolio) initiated new positions in the stock with 8,827 and 33,275 shares, respectively. Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio)' Renaissance Technologies boosted its stake 2% to 4,777,289 shares.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in any stocks mentioned.
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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.