Explaining Southern California's economy

Toy story: Mattel earnings beat expectations, but will stock hit a $40 a share?

Mattel's Fourth Quarter Profit Drops 46 Percent

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Mattel Inc. in of El Segundo, California. Barbie dipped a bit in third-quarter earnings, but overall the biggest toymaker in the U.S. beat expectations.

Barbie beats expectations! Well, not really, but El Segundo-based Mattel, the largest toy company in the United States, just turned in some good news on Wall Street. 

Barbie didn't actually beat expectations. The iconic doll lagged Mattel’s other products in the third quarter, with a dip of 4 percent  from the same period last year.

But the American Girl line brought in $100 million in sales and the Monster High dolls prepped for Halloween also made a big contribution to Mattel’s bottom line, which was up modestly year-over-year. A more favorable exchange rate, with a weaker dollar than last year, also didn’t hurt.

Mattel has not seen its share price threaten $40 in 14 years! It hasn't seen much volatility, either, and it has been paying s steady dividend. Analysts who follow the company figure that it is not really a screaming buy at the moment, but if you'd bought last year, you would be sitting on a nice return right, along with the aforementioned dividends. 

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Facebook earnings: The postgame analysis

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

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Facebook got crushed in trading after its first earnings report since its IPO.

Facebook's IPO was a disaster and its first-ever earnings report didn't really make the situation much better. The company basically met Wall Street's modest expectations, but nonetheless the core executive team — CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and COO David Ebersman — didn't clam investors fears about the company's future. And so it was crushed in after hours trading and was knocked down more than 10 percent in trading today.

When the dust cleared, Facebook, which IPO'd at more than a $100-billion market cap, was a company with just north of a $50-billion market cap.

Ouch!

I went on "AirTalk" with guest host David Lazarus to talk about Facebook's recent misfortunes. Listen up and tell me what you think. Is Facebook with us for long haul? Or has the slide toward irrelevance begun? If the latter, then this company could be the biggest Internet economy bust of all time. 

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Facebook's earnings call: The Storify treatment

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

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Facebook's first earnings report wasn't disappointing. But a big question about its mobile growth prospects is dogging the company.

Facebook reported earnings for the first time today as a public company and, as expected, it mostly met Wall Street's expectations, earning $0.12 per share. But that didn't matter much, as the stock still got crushed in after-hours trading, diving well below its $38/share IPO offering price. How could this be, on a day when the markets rallied on news that the European Central Bank will — wink, wink — not allow the euro to fail, according ECB President Mario Draghi?

I listened to Facebook's earnings call, which feature CEO mark Zuckerberg in additional to COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman — he of the botched IPO — in speaking roles. The focus of the call was mobile, mobile, mobile. Facebook has almost a billion PC users and half a billion mobile users. And it's to this latter group that Wall Street is now looking for growth. Unfortunately, Facebook just isn't there yet on developing an ad platform for the mobile environment. And it may not get there for a while. 

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Facebook's big day may not really be so big

Facebook Debuts As Public Company With Initial Public Offering On NASDAQ Exchange

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Facebook will report earnings for the first time ever tomorrow.

It's not the IPO big day, which turned out to be a total FAIL! day. Rather, it's Facebook's first quarterly earnings report as a public company, due to arrive tomorrow. 

This is from AP by way of Boston.com:

Though there’s a lot riding on its second-quarter earnings report — Wall Street analysts aren’t expecting big surprises. Why? Facebook effectively warned investors before its IPO that Wall Street’s expectations were too high. In a filing issued a week before its IPO, Facebook said its mobile users are growing at a faster pace than the number of ads on its mobile platform.

As a result of that disclosure and others, many analysts reduced their estimates for Facebook’s projected revenue and earnings.

On average, analysts are expecting Facebook to post earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $1.16 billion, according to a poll by FactSet. In all of 2011, it had net income of $1 billion and revenue of $3.71 billion, according to regulatory filings.

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Apple misses on earnings, but just wait for the iPhone 5

Asia Reacts to the Death of Steve Jobs

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An Apple store in Shanghai, China. The company made plenty of money in its fiscal third quarter but still disappointed Wall Street.

Is it a lull? That's the easiest way to read Apple's not-unexpected fiscal third-quarter earnings miss, which was announced after markets closed today. For the record, profits were actually up year-over-year — by over a billion dollars — but Wall Street wanted more for one of the most expensive stocks on the entire stock market. Analysts were looking for $10.37 per share, but they got more than a buck less: $9.32 per share.

AAPL was duly pummeled in after-hours trading, dropping by more than 5 percent.

Blame for this just appalling performance (kidding, obviously) goes to some bumpy issues with various products, but really falls squarely in the impending launch of the iPhone 5. Apple is selling more iPads — 17 million in its fiscal Q3 — but the iPhone still accounts for the lion's share of Apple's profits. Consumers eagerly await the iPhone 5, which is technically the sixth generation of the smartphone. The consensus view is that this anticipation, this delayed gratification, is cutting into iPhone 4S sales, which while nothing to sneeze at didn't enable Apple to achieve enough growth to clear that $10.37/share hurdle.

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