VolkswagenAG issued its 2012 full-year earnings on Friday, posting a 41 percent increase in profit but missing Wall Street estimates. The German automaker said its profit totaled 21.7 billion euros in 2012, up from 15.4 billion euros in 2011, largely due to an accounting shift that placed Porsche in Volkswagen's stable of brands. Overall revenue for the year, meanwhile, rose 21 percent from a year earlier to 192.7 billion euros. The company also topped 9 million vehicles sold for the first time ever in 2012, with total deliveries rising 12.2 percent on a year-to-year basis to just shy of 9.3 million. Like the world's other major automakers, Volkswagen was hit by lagging sales in Europe, but its performance in North America and Asia more than offset that decline.
Zynga shares surged in after-hours trading after the mobile gaming pioneer posted an unexpected profit. The shares, which had already gained just over 7 percent during Tuesday's session, rose another 6.6 percent after hours as investors welcomed the company's earnings as revenue also topped Wall Street estimates. The company also got a lift early Tuesday when Merrill Lunch analyst Justin Post lifted his rating on the stock from “underperform” to “buy,” an upgrade of two notches. Post cited Zynga's growing presence in the mobile gaming space and an impressive portfolio of assets for his renewed optimism in the tech firm, and raised his price target for Zynga stock from $2.70 to $3.40 a share.
Yahoo issued its fourth-quarter results after Monday's closing bell, sending shares higher by about 5 percent as earnings topped Wall Street estimates in the third set of results in CEO Marissa Mayer's tenure. The company's revenue matched analysts' expectations as well, and was an increase of 4 percent over 2011's fourth quarter, evidence that Mayer's ambitious turnaround plans are having an impact. The Sunnyvale, California company also reported full-year revenue of $4.5 billion, up 2 percent from fiscal 2011. The results were seen as a win for Mayer, a former Google employee, who has enjoyed tremendous popularity with media and Yahoo shareholders since she took the office about six months ago.
Tech stocks were pressured Friday by shares of Intel Corp. after the world's largest computer chip maker posted a drop in earnings and revenue for last year's final three months. The company issued the report after Thursday's closing bell, holding back stocks including the company's own shares, which were down 6.7 percent with just a half hour left in Friday's session. The other chipmakers saw their shares slip, as well, though the broader Nasdaq had rebounded late in the session and was just shy of breaking even for the day with the trading day nearly over.
American Express has succumbed to the fiscal crunch plaguing financial services firms in recent months, announcing Thursday that it will cut some 5,400 jobs from its underperforming travel unit. The company did say that some of the lost jobs will be replaced by new positions in other divisions, but the company does expect to reduce its current workforce of nearly 64,00 by between 4 and 6 percent by the end of this year. Morgan Stanley announced on Wednesday it was trimming payroll by about 3 percent with 1,600 layoffs, and Citigroup revealed a layoff of 11,000 last week, as well. These moves have all been part of broader efforts by the firms to revamp how they do business in the post-recession, higher regulation financial sector.
US corporate earnings season got off to a fast start Thursday as Alcoa matched or surpassed Wall Street expectations with earnings and revenue. As the first of the Dow Jones industrial average's 30 components to report every quarter, Alcoa often serves as a bellwether for major US stock indexes. The company also often reflects conditions throughout the broader economy as its products are used in a wide array of other industries. Alcoa's latest earnings buoyed investors, giving all three indexes small gains despite the uncertainty surrounding new regulations in the framework of President Obama's new healthcare plan and the recent cuts agreed to to divert the fiscal cliff.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the company that founded the single-serving coffee market, issued its fiscal fourth-quarter results after Tuesday's closing bell, sending shares up more than 24 percent in after-market trading as sales and revenue easily topped estimates. The company also raised its forecast for the current quarter and the full year, sending shares skyrocketing. Shareholders had been nervous about Green Mountain's patents for the K-Cup brewing system, which expired in September, but its latest results allayed some of those fears.
The largest US home builder posted its fourth-quarter results on Monday, capping off its most profitable fiscal year since 2006 with a 21 percent uptick in net sales. Shares of DR Horton slumped, however, as its profit margins continued to decline, prompting investors to worry that the builder would not be able to control costs as the housing market continues to improve. Some analysts are also concerned that home builder stocks are inflated, as the sector has enjoyed outstanding stock gains for over a year, with DR Horton shares gaining over 65 percent over that span.
The world's leading sport apparel manufacturer Nike reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results after Thursday's opening bell, driving shares down 12.5 percent in after-hours trading after earnings fell on higher costs despite an overall increase in revenue. The company also cited a higher effective tax rate, and increased marketing expense related to its sponsorship of the European Soccer Championships, which is ongoing, and the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London as factors in the disappointing results.
Toyota Motor Company issued its fiscal fourth-quarter results Wednesday, capping off one of the worst years in the automaker's history with a surprisingly profitable final three months that saw earnings quadruple from a year ago when the company's production was brought to a standstill by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March 11th. The strong results in the fourth quarter represent a return to form for Toyota, which lost the title of the world's biggest automaker to General Motors last year, as the disaster caused production delays to the tune of hundreds of thousands of vehicles.