APAC indices ended the session lower, and European markets are poised to open in negative territory. In Australia, employment rebounded in October. As expected, the unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, largely due to an increase in participation rates, but employment change rose more than expected; by 55,000, the market saw a 20,000 increase. A few US macroeconomic indicators are scheduled for this afternoon. Among them are initial jobless claims and industrial production.
Hive Bidco, a subsidiary of Mars, has reached an agreement on the terms to buy Hotel Chocolat. It offers 375 pence in cash for each hotel chocolate share. That is a premium of 170%.
Burberry is being hit by a global slowdown in luxury spending. It had a forecast of double-digit growth for the current financial year and said this this morning. It is unlikely to meet its revenue forecast if weaker demand persists.
Royal Mail owner International Distributions Services expects to pay a modest dividend this year. The group posted an adjusted interim operating loss of £169 million. It expects adjusted operating performance to be around the breakeven point this fiscal year.
Premier Foods forecasts higher annual profit after reporting an increase for the first half of the year. The group expects 2023–24 trading profit to be 10% ahead of last year’s 157.5 million pounds. Analysts, on average, had forecast about £166 million.
Siemens posted a net profit of €1.72 billion, to be compared with the €1.71 billion expected by analysts. Also beating analysts’ forecasts: revenue rose 10% to €21.4 billion, and orders were up 6% in Q4 to €21.8 billion. For 2024, Siemens expects its revenues to grow by 4–8%. A slowdown from the 10% revenue increase the German industrial heavyweight posted for this year is mainly due to muted expectations at Siemens AG’s industrial automation division, where sales could grow up to 3% or stagnate.
Cisco shares dropped in extended trading after the group cut its full-year revenue and profit forecasts. Cisco said it saw a slowdown of new product orders in the first quarter and estimates one to two quarters of shipped product orders are still waiting to be implemented by customers.
The group CFO added that return-to-order growth will only happen in the second half of the year. Excluding items, Cisco earned $1.11 per share in the first quarter, beating estimates of $1.03. Revenue also topped estimates. For the full year, Cisco expects revenue between $53.8 and $55 billion and adjusted per-share earnings in the range of $3.87 to $3.93. The company had previously forecast annual revenue of $57 billion to $58.2 billion and adjusted per-share earnings of $4.01 to $4.08.
Walmart is due to report its quarterly earnings before the market opens. The Street anticipates the retail giant to post earnings of $1.51 per share and revenue of $159.3 billion. In the same quarter last year, earnings came in at $1.50 per share on revenue of $152.8 billion. Over the past few years, Walmart has focused on developing its e-commerce segment. In 2019, online sales amounted to just over $25 billion worldwide. In its most recent fiscal year, e-commerce reached $82.1 billion.
This strategy put Walmart in a better situation than some of its competitors, at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers don’t do as well. Walmart shares are currently trading at an all-time high. The stock benefited this week from upbeat reports from Home Depot and Target.