Stock Take 01/07/2021

Walgreens Boots Alliance gains momentum

The US drugstore and pharmacy chain Walgreens is becoming even more optimistic after an unexpectedly good performance in the past quarter. After raising its full-year targets in March, Walgreens Boots Alliance management is now raising the bar a little higher. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations are expected to increase by ten per cent on a constant currency basis in the 2021 financial year, the company announced in Deerfield on Thursday. Most recently, management had expected a mid- to high-single-digit percentage increase. The share price rose by almost 3 per cent in pre-market trading.

In the third financial quarter, which ran until the end of May, the group had performed significantly better than analysts had expected. Revenues rose by twelve per cent to 34 billion dollars – the company thus gained further momentum compared to the previous second quarter of the financial year. Below the line, the group achieved a profit of 1.2 billion dollars, compared to a loss of 1.7 billion dollars in the previous year, partly due to write-offs and impairments.

On the US stock exchange NASDAQ, Walgreens Boots Alliance shares fell by 7.41 per cent to 48.71 US dollars.

Krispy Kreme disappoints on issue price

The US doughnut chain Krispy Kreme, part of the corporate empire of the German billionaire Reimann family, raised significantly less money than hoped for at its initial public offering in New York.

The company said it had unloaded its shares for $17 – well below its initial target range of $21 to $24. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts thus missed its target of raising up to $640 million, ultimately raising only about $500 million. In total, Krispy Kreme was valued at around 2.8 billion dollars.

The start of trading on the New York tech exchange Nasdaq was also subdued. The shares listed under the ticker symbol “DNUT” opened at the initial price of 16.30 dollars, still below the issue price. At last count, however, the shares were worth 19 dollars. The company had issued 29.4 million shares. The Reimanns’ investment holding company JAB bought Krispy Kreme in 2016 for around 1.35 billion dollars. The family intends to retain a clear majority of just under 80 per cent in the future. JAB also owns the restaurant chains Pret A Manger and Panera Bread and the coffee giant Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

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Krispy Kreme shares ended the first day of trading on a positive note at 21.00 US dollars, up 23.53 per cent.

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GM increases US sales by 40 per cent in the second quarter

US carmaker General Motors (GM) sold 688,236 vehicles in the US in the second quarter, up 40 per cent from a year earlier. The group saw strong customer demand, but inventories were low due to the global chip shortage. GM ended the quarter with 211,974 vehicles in stock, down from 334,628 at the end of the first quarter.

Fleet sales, which were hit hard a year ago by pandemic-related closures, rose 69 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, GM added. Fleet sales accounted for about 14 per cent of total sales, below the company’s pre-pandemic fleet mix of about 20 per cent, due to supply constraints caused by the semiconductor shortage. The rental business accounted for 4 per cent of GM’s total sales.

The group further said that production of HD pickups would be increased by about 1,000 vehicles per month from mid-July to improve the efficiency of the production line. Full-size pickup production will return to the Oshawa assembly plant in Canada in late 2021.

On the NYSE, General Motors shares only gained 0.17 per cent to US$59.27.

Slack aims to enhance digital workday with new features

Office communications provider Slack wants to replicate everyday work in a digital work environment with new features. On Wednesday, the US company introduced, among other things, the possibility of informally addressing colleagues. The idea is to pass by their desk in the office. In another feature, employees can share up to three-minute videos with ideas or suggestions with colleagues.

The innovations also stem from the company’s increased use of its digital work tools during the corona crisis, said Slack manager Katherine Kelly. She said that as the world of work changes, it is more about finding a balance between productivity and flexibility.

Slack is currently being acquired by SAP rival Salesforce for 28 billion dollars. Salesforce is also betting heavily on a future with hybrid working from the office and home.

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Slack shares are trading marginally higher by 0.07 per cent at $44.33 in Thursday trading on the NYSE.

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