Sauced Out, Not Exactly the Best-est Buy and Housing Springs Forward

They don’t got the sauce…

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apparently Unilever (UL) likes their pasta plain. The company just sold their Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauce brands to Japanese food manufacturer Mizkan for $2.15 billion. Despite the fact that Ragu is the best-selling pasta sauce in the United Stated, Unilever, like many other companies are focusing on what they do best  – in this case it’s personal hygiene products. Which is just as well I suppose as the maker of and Axe body spray decided its food products would find a much more loving family in the arms of a 210 year old Japanese company that makes things like mustards and rice wine.

Mediocre Buy…

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Best Buy (BBY) wasn’t looking its best today. Sure it beat expectations earning $0.33 a share instead of the predicted $0.20 a share. But revenue fell and the company isn’t expecting that to change much. The electronics chain reported sales of $9.04 billion. But analysts pegged their hopes for it at $9.22 billion. And like every other company, they are blaming factors outside the company – in this case, the electronics manufacturers. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Best Buy said companies need to crank out more products with bigger tricks and maybe then Best Buy sales will improve. Best Buy also spoke of “softness” (which is just another way of saying lousy sales) in the mobile phone market where it says consumers are eagerly awaiting the next best things so they can sleep on a sidewalk  outside a store three days before a product hits the shelves just to have the dubious distinction of being among the first to own a product that will be obsolete in six months.

Housing numbers and housing bummers…

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The economy is looking slightly (remember, I said slightly) less awful today as new numbers are out indicating that the housing market is improving. Slightly. In fact, April was the first time it rose in 2014. While it was a 1.3% increase from March, it still was 7% below April 2013’s numbers. But two good things to note: There are more homes and there are better prices  – not that those two things are always mutually exclusive. The median price of a home was up 5.2% from a year ago to $201,700. But leave it to the Federal Reserve to be the ever reliable buzzkill and remind us that the pace of the housing recovery is still too slow and just isn’t good enough in the grand economic recovery scheme of things. Got all that?

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