Energizer Holdings (NYSE:ENR) operates two primary divisions. The household products sector consists primarily of selling batteries, which has been a challenging business for some time and has become more difficult as consumers focus on private-label and lower-prices goods to reduce costs. The personal care unit has held up better and is where the company continues to focus its energies. The question is if this will be sufficient to set the company apart from the competition.
Diversified healthcare provider Baxter (NYSE:BAX) recently reported another quarter of respectable sales growth and impressive profit expansion. These results aren’t overly surprising given the firm’s product focus, and could come in quite handy for investors seeking stability in their portfolios, especially if the global economy remains on uneven footing.
Semiconductor behemoth Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) reported results last week that put technology investors slightly more at ease regarding near-term industry trends. The stock price has continued its upward bias since the earnings release, which calls into question whether too much bullish sentiment is now being priced into the shares.
Technology titan International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) has chosen to pursue a strategy that emphasizes profitability over size. Many industry rivals place too high a priority on market share and top-line growth. Not IBM; service revenue is helping this company through the current economic downturn, although it may not be the best play in this segment of the market.
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), owner of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut dining concepts, reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday above analyst projections. However, the company’s forward guidance was less appetizing, as U.S. trends remained challenging and rapid growth in China is slowing. At a current forward P/E multiple of over 14, investors may want to carefully digest the quarterly results before sitting down to dine on the shares. Read the rest of this entry »
Not that long ago, investors could rely on diversified healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for predictable double-digit increases in sales and earnings. These days, a trifecta of patent expirations, overseas exposure and economic malaise have combined to send growth into negative territory, and it may be some time before J&J returns to its heyday.
From a share-price performance perspective, grocery-store retailer Kroger (NYSE:KR) has had a dismal 2009 – its stock is down nearly 20%. In stark contrast, the overall stock market (as judged by the S&P 500) is basically even. This discrepancy will likely not last, especially if these trends in the economy continue.