What the analysts say
The verdict from global analysts on major company news
Unilever today (24 April) reported first-quarter underlying sales ahead of the market's expectations. Shares in the consumer goods giant closed down, perhaps amid concerns foreign exchange would have on the company's top line. However, drilling down into the results, the City found reasons to be positive about Unilever's ice cream - and recently maligned - spreads businesses.
Tesco reported a disappointing set of full-year numbers with both sales and profits falling this morning (14 April). The UK retail behemoth has faced declining consumer spending and a battle to make its big-box stores relevant. But has the company hit the bottom of its downward curve and will the group's 2014 performance improve? Here is what the City had to say about Tesco's performance.
Morrisons reported a full-year loss of GBP176m (US$293.6m) and further deterioration of like-for-like sales today (13 March). Management this morning set out a new strategic course for the group, which includes a GBP1bn price investment over the next three years. While next year's profits are expected to drop, the company believes the investment can be funded through a cost-saving drive in the medium-term. However, with concern over margins and competitive pressures, opinion remains divided over the prospects for the beleaguered grocer.
Carrefour's 2013 results came in above market expectations, with analysts praising the French retail giant's work in recent years, particularly in its domestic market. Signs of an improvement in Spain were also welcomed. However, there is concern Carrefour's management, part-way through a turnaround of the business, has some tough tasks ahead.
Ahold's shares rose yesterday after the retail giant's fourth-quarter margins beat market forecasts. However, some analysts believe the Dutch grocer faces challenges at home and in its biggest overseas market, the US.
Danone booked a drop in 2013 earnings today (20 February) as margins were dented by higher input costs in fresh dairy. However, the group said it is taking action to stabilise margins - prompting analysts to largely conclude that the worst could be over for the French dairy giant.
Nestle booked a mixed set of full-year numbers today (13 February). The world's largest food group saw a drop in operating profit due to the cost of disposals and issued a cautious outlook for 2014. However, trading operating profit was up on improved margins and the company was able to shrug off some of the weakness it saw in the first half of the year. Analyst reactions have been equally mixed.
Morrisons' unscheduled Christmas trading update surprised the City this morning in more ways than one. Like-for-like sales fell almost 6%, under-performing its rivals by some distance. The decline was evidence the impact the growth of discounters Aldi and Lidl is having the UK's fourth-largest grocer.
Tesco this morning (9 January) revealed a disappointing drop in like-for-like sales over Christmas and New Year. The retailer attributed the decline in sales to "further weakness in the UK grocery market" and having a "tougher comparative" versus last year. The results had a negative impact on share recommendations, although some analysts highlighted areas for optimism, including Tesco's work online.
The disappointing third-quarter top-line performance reported this morning (4 December) by Tesco has left analysts divided over the group's strategy. Tesco has cut capital expenditure on new stores and is instead investing in refurbishments and multichannel growth. Management has insisted the strategy will simply take time to deliver results. But, with the clock ticking, another set of weak numbers has raised questions over whether Tesco's investment focus will pay off. Here is the view from the City.
Greencore this morning (26 November) revealed an increase in annual earnings and sales. The convenience food group said it enters its new financial year with "good momentum", despite operating in a "weak" consumer environment. Analysts offered a relatively optimistic review of the results.
Ahold shares dropped today (14 Novermber) after the Netherlands-based retailer warned its domestic market share is coming under pressure. However, a number of positives also came out of the financial update, including the announcement of a EUR1bn payout to shareholders and news that the group will exit Slovakia. Here is what the markets had to say about Ahold's mixed third-quarter news.
Sainsbury's shares rose today (13 November) after it reported improved half-year profits, its highest market share in a decade and upped its margin forecast for the year. It also increased its dividend. City analysts said Sainsbury's performance was strong.
Shares in Unilever fell this morning (1 October) in reaction to the consumer goods giant issuing a sales warning for the third quarter - on the back of a slowdown in emerging markets. City analysts said it was a blow for Unilever. However, some were more concerned about the company's performance in developed markets - and insisted emerging markets, in the long term, still present potential for FMCG companies.
UK online retailer Ocado saw its share price fall as the group reported a first-half loss despite increasing sales. CEO Tim Steiner said it had been an "extremely busy" first half of the year and said the company remains "well placed" to take advantage of the" accelerating structural changes in the industry". Analysts offered a mixed view of the results.
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