Friday, July 22, 2011

Loblaw, Shoppers, GE Announce Earnings for the Quarter. Corporate Profits are Healthy in Canada and the U.S.

General Electric (NYSE: GE)

Revenues and profits soared for the world's largest manufacturer of jet engines and turbines for power plants. Second quarter profit came in at $3.69 billion, up from $3.03 billion last year. On a per share basis this is 35 cents versus 28 cents. This is a healthy gain for a company once written off by many during the recent recession.

Revenues fell slightly to about $36 billion as it sold the majority of its stake in NBC Universal to Comcast Corp. Considering, however, that analyst estimates for GE had been $35 billion, the slight decline is good news. The major developments in the company during the quarter were in the area of its energy business, which made acquisitions totalling over $11 billion. In the future, the upside potential in this business for GE could be substantial.

For more on GE check out Reuters News Service.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSE: L)

Canadian grocery heavyweight Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced stronger second quarter results today. Loblaw's earnings came in at $197 million, or 67 cents on a per share basis. Last year, Loblaw's earned $181 million or 64 cents per share. Revenues also rose by a small margin to $7.28 billion.

However, all is not good news at Loblaw. Already competing against Wal-Mart, Sobeys, Metro, and Costco, the company will soon by vying with Target, which will surely take a bite out of both its grocery business and new Joe Fresh line.

Employee wages, however, have been under intense pressure at the retailer and the UFCW has been unable to effectively keep wages much higher than they are at competitors. Cheaper labour costs will undoubtedly give Loblaw a fighting edge, even though its employee morale is said to be in the basement at most stores.

Shoppers Drug Mart (TSE: SC)

Canada's largest drug store chain announced higher quarterly results today. Even without a permanent CEO, the company edged out many of its rivals and reported a second quarter profit of $148 million, or 68 cents per share. Last year, the company earned $146 million or 67 cents per share. Since analysts were looking for a per share profit of $67 cents for Shoppers, they beat estimates by a penny, and, overall, performed reasonably well.

Performing particularly well were its "front-of-store" sales, which include the items most commonly thought of at Shoppers next to prescriptions... cosmetics etc. Non-prescription sales at Shoppers were up 3.8 percent, which more than made up for a decline in prescriptions of 1 percent.

Many Shoppers' shareholders, including myself, have been worried as of late about the decline in prescriptions due to generic drug pricing in Ontario, and the loss of the company's CEO, but as the numbers indicate, profits are rising, albeit slightly, and good money is being made. Hopefully a new CEO is found soon,  but until then, just stay the course with this Canadian retail gem.

Happy Investing : )

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