Disney+ Streaming Business Gives Disney Profit Surprise
Topic of the day
The growing streaming business Disney+ has given the entertainment company Disney a strong profit surprise. The company benefited from people's search for entertainment in the pandemic and increased the number of its subscribers to 94.9 million. However, in other areas of Disney such as the theme parks, business came to a virtual standstill because of the lockdown measures. Disney (DIS) reported a surprise profit of $17 million, or 2 cents a share, for its fiscal first quarter on revenue of $16.25 billion, up from $15.8 billion a year earlier. Adjusted for restructuring and other effects, Disney posted earnings of 32 cents per share, up from $1.53 in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected an adjusted loss of 34 cents per share on revenue of $15.9 billion, according to FactSet.
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The Swiss stock market continued to perform leisurely on Thursday with a positive underlying tone. Compared to neighbouring stock exchanges, however, this time it was a little further back in the daily order than last time. Zurich Insurance and Clariant were in focus after their quarterly reports. Lonza was again the day's winner in the SMI with a further increase of 1.0 per cent, further supported by the recent sale of the chemicals business. The SMI gained 0.3 per cent to 10,853 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 14 price gainers and 6 losers. 27.6 (Wednesday: 35.93) million shares were traded. Zurich Insurance, one of the biggest gainers the day before, was the tail light in the SMI with a minus of 1.1 percent. The Corona crisis and higher catastrophe losses brought the insurance group an 8 per cent lower net profit in 2020. Clariant fell by 2.6 per cent. The Swiss speciality chemicals group increased profit last year amid falling sales and expects the coronavirus pandemic to affect sales in the current quarter as well. Net profit from continuing operations of 116 million francs nevertheless missed the consensus estimate of 147.6 million.
European equity indices showed contrasting trends at the close on Thursday as investors digested a burst of corporate earnings and the latest speech by Jerome Powell, in which the US Federal Reserve Chairman suggested that monetary policy could be more accommodative than some investors expected. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.5% to 411.4 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.02% and the SBF 120 gained 0.06%. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 gained 0.8%, while the FTSE 100 in London appreciated by 0.1%. Shopping centre operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (-13%) announced the suspension of its dividend until 2023 after publishing Wednesday evening recurrent net profit down 40% in 2020 due to the health crisis. Crédit Agricole SA (+4.9%) announced on Thursday the payment of a dividend of €0.8 per share in respect of the financial year 2020, representing a payout rate of 66.6%, well above the 50% distributed under normal circumstances. The bank also published a net income group share of €2.69 billion for the full year 2020, compared with €4.84 billion in 2019, a decrease of 44.4%. Commerzbank (-6% in Frankfurt) anticipates a return to positive operating results this year and intends to resume dividend payments for the 2023 financial year. "After a financial year 2020 penalized by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the provisions booked for restructuring, the bank is aiming for a return to positive operating profit this year," the bank said in a press release also presenting its strategy for 2024.
The sideways movement of the previous days with moderate fluctuations on both sides continued on Thursday, with some momentum building up again towards the end of trading. In the process, technology stocks on Wall Street performed slightly better than the broad market. Bitcoin marked new record highs as it gains more acceptance in the corporate world. The Dow Jones index closed minimally lower at 31,430 points. The S&P-500 gained 0.2 per cent, while the more tech-heavy Nasdaq indices gained as much as 0.6 per cent. On the Nyse, there were 1,421 (Wednesday: 1,626) gainers, 1,809 (1,591) losers and 84 (85) unchanged stocks, according to initial data. Beverage maker Pepsi (-2.0%) beat market expectations in the fourth quarter of 2020 and announced a dividend increase. Tyson Foods (-5.7%) beat expectations with its profit, but the chicken producer's sales disappointed. Kraft Heinz gained 4.9 per cent. Tailwinds for the food giant's stock came from beating expectations on the one hand, and from the sale of the Planters nut business to competitor Hormel Foods for $3.35 billion on the other (-3.3%). Kellogg shares fell by 1.9 per cent after disappointing business figures. An unexpectedly optimistic outlook for the current first quarter helped shares in Zillow, an online marketplace for real estate, jump nearly 18 per cent. The share of the dating app provider Bumble celebrated a spectacular stock market debut. Placed at 43 dollars, the first price was already 76 dollars. Most recently, the stock traded at 70.31 dollars, an increase of almost 63 per cent.
Most Asian stock exchanges in the region are closed for the holiday. This is the case in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. On the Chinese mainland, the stock exchanges are even closed up to and including Wednesday of next week for the Lunar New Year holiday. On the Tokyo stock exchange, where there was no trading on the previous day because of the Day of the Founding of the Empire, the Nikkei index fell by 0.3 per cent to 29,483 points.
The ten-year yield on US government bonds rose by 3 basis points to 1.16 per cent. Overall, the yield curve steepened towards the longer end.
Berenberg lowers target Glaxosmithkline to GBP 15.70 (17.20) - Buy
LBBW raises Unicredit target to EUR 8.50 (8.00) - Hold
CS lowers Moeller-Maersk to DKK 17,679 (17,854) - Outperform
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