Ugly Earnings from Majors Like Microsoft and McDonald's Hit Wall Street

Andrew Klips  |

Google (GOOG) released a disappointing earnings report on Thursday that helped guide the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange more than 1 percent into the red. Coupling reports after the closing bell yesterday with Friday morning reports, more big board staples are disclosing financials that are coming-up shy of Wall Street’s expectations.

Notable laggards resulting from less-than-expected earnings include, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), General Electric Co. (GE) and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG).

Yesterday evening, Microsoft reported a 22 percent drop – from $17.37 billion to $16 billion - in its fiscal first quarter revenue, citing challenges in the broad PC market and lowered inventories of Windows 7 as part of the transition to Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 is expected to finally debut next Friday.

The Redman, Washington-based tech firm said profits for the quarter equaled $4.47 billion, or 53 cents per share, as compared to profit of $5.74 billion, or 68 cents per share, in the year prior quarter. Analysts were calling-for $16.5 billion in revenue and 56 cents per share in earnings.

The company did defer about $1.35 billion in sales related to it Office software and in pre-sales for Windows 8. Shares fell about 2 percent in early Friday trading from Thursday’s $29.50 closing price.

McDonald’s also missed analyst predictions by posting a 3 percent drop in third-quarter profit to $1.46 billion, or $1.43 per share. In the year prior quarter, McDonald’s reported profit of $1.51 billion, or $1.45 per share. Revenue during the latest quarter edged-down 0.2 percent to $7.15 billion. Analysts were calling for revenue of $7.14 billion and earnings per share of $1.47.

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Like many other companies with heavy sales generated overseas, an unfavorable forex market hampered profits. Excluding currency fluctuations, revenue was up 4 percent.

Shareholders of the world’s biggest burger chain aren’t singing “I’m Loving it” to the latest financials as shares are down more than 3 percent in early trading from yesterday’s closing price of $92.86.

Shares of General Electric are down about 3 percent to $22.10 in Friday morning trading after the U.S.’s largest conglomerate posted a 2.8 percent increase in third quarter revenue to $36.35 billion from $35.36 billion the year earlier, but missed Wall Street estimates of $36.94 billion. A weak currency exchange cost earnings $1.1 billion, according to the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company.

GE reported a profit of $3.49 billion, or 33 cents a share, versus $3.22 billion, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts were calling for 36 cents per share in earnings.

Chipotle shares are getting crushed by more than 14 percent to $243 each in early trading after providing an earnings miss and weak forecast after Thursday’s closing bell. The Denver-based burrito maker notched an 18 percent climb in third-quarter revenue to $700.5 million and a quarterly profit of $72.3 million, or $2.27 per share, compared to $60.4 million, or $1.90 per share last year. The increases missed analyst forecasts of earnings of $2.30 per share and $702 million in revenue.

What hurt Chipotle the most is a deceleration in growth. Once one of the most-loved restaurant plays that regularly posted double digit gains in same-store sales, Chipotle has cooled in growth and its shares have suffered; losing more than 40 percent from April highs of $442.40 a share. Last quarter, same-store sales grew by 4.8 percent, short of 5.4 percent growth analysts expected.

Early in October, influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who runs the $7.7 billion fund at Greenlight Capital, call Chipotle’s market cap a “nosebleed valuation” and indicated the company was a viable short option as competition for Yum Brands (YUM) stiffens through its Taco Bell restaurants.

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