Russia is Not Kicking the Right Game for Adidas, Will Brian Cornell Hit His Target? And BofA’s Boffo Payout

From Russia with loss…

Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Adidas lowered its full year profit target thanks to Russia. And golf. But not Russian golf, it should be duly noted. Despite the fact that Russia is hosting the 2018 World Cup, the world’s second largest sporting goods maker and World Cup sponsor decided to shutter a bunch of stores and scrap plans to open a bunch more in that region. But hey, that’s what happens when your governmemt supports Ukranian rebels. The German-based company is weary of Russia and its ability to pull in the sales it has in the past because of all those sanctions coming courtesy of Europe and the US. Which is really too bad because sales in Russia for the brand were over 1 billion euros in 2013. Now Adidas expects net profit of 650 million euros when it previously expected those numbers to be between 830 million euros and 930 million euros. Go ahead and do the dollar conversion math. Just kidding. Adidas initially expected net profit between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion but now it doesn’t even expect to go past $870 million. As for the company’s Taylor-Made golf division…well, it’s golf. And not soccer. And across the pond that means a lot.

Hit or miss?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Target’s making big news today. And no it’s not for any security breaches or lousy earnings. Well at least for now, anyway. The news out of the Minneapolis-based company is the appointment of its new CEO Brian Cornell, the first CEO in Target’s history to come from outside the company’s ranks. The 55 year old Cornell recently held a big gig over at Pepsi and some rumors said he was going to be the successor to the throne there. But instead he made his way to the embattled Target, which is currently experiencing declining same store sales, a troubled Canadian expansion (Oh, Canada) and continuing fall out from its holiday season security breach. So take a seat and let’s watch to see if the seasoned exec can pull the retail giant out of its slump and get that stock back on the upswing.

Another one bites the dust…

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And this time it’s Bank of America as a Manhattan judge ordered the bank to pay a $1.3 billion fine for mortgage fraud. Mind you this is not part of settlement talks that Bofa is currently having with the US Department of Justice. This latest penalty was from an actual lawsuit that BofA lost that and was connected to “The Hustle” program. As sexy as that sounds it is anything but as loans that were made at Countrywide Financial were rushed to “High Speed Swim Lanes (HSSL)” and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Oh if only the actual dealings were as playful as the terms used to describe the dubious actions behind them. Bofa was found guilty of getting its employees to take bad loans off the books and put them right into the hands of unwitting investors. As for the DOJ settlement, the US wants BofA to pony up $17 billion while the bank was looking more toward the area of between $12 billion to $13 billion. The two sides continue to hash out the ugly details, even, I am sure, as I write this. The company released its second quarter earning weeks ago to the tune of a 43% drop thanks to its declining mortgage business and increasing legal fees.

 

Tweeting Redemption, Snapchat to That, Fiat’s Fiscal Flop

Twitter this, critics…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Twitter gave its critics something to chirp about with an incredible earnings season. In fact, not only did its earnings rise 35% but the micro-blogging site also picked up millions more active users topping out at over 271 million active users trumping expectations of 267 million. Net revenue for the company was $312 million which was up 124% from a year ago. Twitter says that it has made improvements to its “onboarding” process. Now when new users sign up, the feeds that they’ll apparently enjoy get to them quicker. But Twitter’s excellent quarter likely had a lot more to do with the World Cup and the Twitterverse going full throttle for the event. However, many are still left wondering how advertisers are actually benefitting from the millions of dollars they plunk down on the site. Many will also be wondering if the company can pull off another good quarter without the World Cup and all the tweets that event pulled in. And btw, despite the great earnings, the company still posted a net loss of $145 million.

Hey, where’d it go?

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember how the app Snapchat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook? Remember how Snapchat said that the messages – some of a delicate nature – disappeared forever but really they didn’t? Remember that charges of deception were brought against the company and it settled? Anyways, Snapchat has been in heavy duty money talks with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., among other potential investors, which could put the company’s value at $10 billion. The messaging company boasts that over 700 million messages a day go through the site. So maybe blowing off Facebook wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Besides, the social networking giant went ahead and came up with a similar app of its own called Slingshot.

Ciao to Fiat?

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember how long ago it’s been since J.Lo starred in those Fiat ads? Well neither do I. Apparently those ads didn’t prove very effective either otherwise they might have tried similar campaigns, no doubt in this past fiscal quarter where shares of the Italian car company tanked over 50%. FiatSpA, which also controls Chrysler, saw particularly poor numbers in North and Latin America.  Net profit for the company was $263 million while a year ago it was $583 million.

Flipkart-ing Out, United Parcel Slip and You Debt-or Believe It

Prime Flipkart…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.com

How do you say Amazon in India? Have you tried Flipkart? You could still say Amazon as it’s over there too and is major competition to Flipkart but that’s not why we’re here. In any case, India’s numero uno e-commerce site just raised a whopping $1 billion. Rumor has it, though, that the company’s value is probably closer to $7 billion. Several shrewd and presumably prescient investors have already raised their stakes in the company including Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global. The company boasts 22 million registered users and sees 4 million visitors a day. Flipkart is currently developing its mobile-based business, which is probably very wise as India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow sevenfold by 2018.

Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

UPS has a lot of work to do as profits of the shipping company fell a monumental 58%. Ouch. But at least the company has big plans to spend more money – $175 million – to make improvements and avoid another quarter like this one. Hey you gotta spend money to make money, right? Those improvements are geared specifically toward the holiday season which UPS flubbed the last time around when many many packages failed to make it to their intended recipients on time  – leaving many feeling very un-merry. It plans to operate on a full schedule on Black Friday and beef up its holiday season operations, as well. The company’s net income was down to $454 million from over a billion dollars a year ago. Revenue, however, was up $14.27 billion and even beat Wall Street estimates of $14.07 billion. UPS CEO Scott Davis said, “2014 is the year of investing for the customer.” Awww. So sweet. Now if they could just get those packages delivered on time.

More sucky stuff…

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Disconcerting news out today courtesy of The Urban Institute. The institute conducted a study finding that more than a third of Americans have their own special relationship with debt collectors. I know you’re just filled with warmth and good feeling right now. Student loans, mortgages, credit card bills and so much more have contributed to the delinquency of consumers. The study was conducted on the credit files of more than 7 million Americans. Southern states for some reason had a higher percentage of delinquency than the rest of the country. However, Nevada came out the winner of the losers with a 47% share of collections, namely because that state was hit particularly hard by the recession. On average, Americans who have debt in collections owe around $5,200.

Family Dollar Goes For Billions, Virgin America Set to Take Off and Amazon’s Doing What?

You call that a bargain?

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Carl Icahn’s dreams do come true. Like every day. But that’s a whole different story. The billionaire activist investor urged Family Dollar to sell itself a while ago in an effort to save itself and add to his coffers. Both of those things happened. For around $9.2 billion, Dollar Tree is picking up its rival, Family Dollar and more than doubling in size – and dollars, of course. The new combo is expected to pull in over $18 billion in sales and rake in around $2 billion from its 13,000 stores in 48 states and Canada. Oh Canada. Of course, it’ll never be as big as Wal-Mart, but then again, will anything ever be? As for Carl Icahn who has over a 9% stake in Family Dollar, you’ll probably never find him pushing his shopping cart down the discounted aisles of the chain (though the visual does have a certain appeal), however, he did score close to $400 million from the deal.

Cleared for take-off…

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Virgin America is finally announcing plans for its very own IPO, filing for $115 million, but that number is sure to change. Even though the company has struggled to make some bonus cash in the past, especially compared to its publicly traded and less accommodating rivals, last year the Burlingname-based airline carrier pulled in a $10 million profit. Virgin America is known for offering more and better priced perks than its competition which is only too eager to charge additional fees just for breathing. The airline currently has a fleet of 53 aircraft and flies to 22 airports in the US and Mexico.

Have you seen my bobble head?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is there anything Amzaon can’t (and won’t) do? The e-commerce giant just unveiled its latest innovation – a 3D printing service – in case you were having difficulty deciding what more to buy with your Prime membership. Need some custom earrings? How about a skull made according to your specifications? Or maybe a bobble head that looks just like…you? Amazon wants you to “shop the future” by purchasing objects created just for you – and by you – on a 3D printer. There are around 200 products from which to choose with a price tag of about $30. With some 240 million users, Amazon is sure to make a buck or two.

GM and Ford Release Their Very Different Earnings, Morgan Stanley Feeling “Settled” and Amazon’s Confusing Earnings

Compare and contrast…

Image courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Ford and GM announced their second quarter earnings. Guess who fared better? Here’s a hint: Recalls. GM’s profits got massacred by its massive recall issues in its second quarter pulling in only $190 million. While that seems like nothing to scoff at, it is when it’s an 85% drop from the same period a year ago. Ford pulled in a profit of $1.31 billion –  a 6.3% increase. GM on the other hand had a $1.2 billion charge over its recalls – about 22 million of them. In the meantime, the company has set aside a fund with $400 million in it (so far) for victims of the faulty vehicles while it undergoes both Federal and Congressional investigations. But not Ford, whose numbers were lifted with a little help from Europe – which saw a profit for the first time in three years.

Case closed?

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nothing like a $275 million settlement with the SEC to put a damper on the day – well for Morgan Stanley, anyway. But after all, the settlement was over fraud allegations, never a flattering thing for a company, especially when it’s the second largest investment bank in the country. Apparently Morgan Stanley committed these fraudulent acts over some mortgage-backed securities when it misled investors about the delinquency status of loans. It gets a bit more convoluted than that but basically it’s a big Federal no-no when banks don’t bother to disclose delinquency information. The SEC said Morgan Stanley did it on purpose so that it could get out those sub-prime loans to borrowers with, shall we say, sub-prime credit. The $275 million will be paid back to those investors who lost money over Morgan Stanley’s allegedly fraudulent actions.

Prime miss. Or prime diss? Hmmm.

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Amazon is not having a good day, we assume, as it came out with earnings which were a colossal Wall Street miss. What does a colossal miss look like? Well, when a giant online company like Amazon posts $0.15 earnings per share when Wall Street expected a $0.27 per share gain then you’ve got yourself a colossal miss. However, many experts (me not being one of them – an expert, that is) attribute that loss to the launch of its new “Fire” smartphone which makes its auspicious and apparently very expensive debut on Friday. Also, it should be duly noted that the company also pulled in $19.34 billion in sales – a 23% growth, so investors and those “experts” aren’t too worked up over that earnings per share miss. If you do find yourself jonseing for one of those new Amazon “Fire” phones it’ll only set you back $649, that is, if you don’t want a contract. If you don’t mind the whole strings attached/contract concept, you’ll only need to shell out $199 for AT&T to provide you with the phone. Either way, Amazon’s going to throw in a one-year “Prime” membership.

Hamas Terrorists/Murderers Win Big Over the FAA, Boeing Not Up Up and Away and Facebook Sooo High Up

Yes, the terrorists have won…

Image courtesy of FrameAngel/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FrameAngel/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It looks like the murderous terrorist Hamas organization scored a major victory against the world, and the US commercial airline industry as it got the FAA to ban flights to Israel. All major carriers including Delta and United Airlines have canceled flights because they are concerned that bloodthirsty Hamas will bring down aircraft with its never-ending supply of missiles obtained with lots of assistance from its nuke-happy friends in Iran. It’s a curious ban since there isn’t one in place for Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen – which begs the question as to whether or not the ban was really born out of safety concerns or just blatant run-of-the-mill anti-Semitism and sympathy for terrorists. Hmmm. The ban is expected to reduce revenue for airlines by tens of millions of dollars –  if not more. A major coup for Hamas, no doubt. But at least former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who knows a things or two about money and politics, showed some major falafel balls by coming to Israel on an El Al flight to show solidarity for a country that is under constant attack by butchers whose sole purpose in life is to murder every single Jewish person on the planet.

Not exactly taking off?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aerospace and defense company Boeing released its earnings today and all I can say is: Wow. “Wow” for two very distinct reasons. Reason number one is that the Chicago, Illinois-based company pulled in a profit of over 50% with a net income of close to $1.7 billion and $2.24 earnings per share. Boeing didn’t just beat the Street’s estimates it pummeled them. As for “wow” reason number two: The stock isn’t soaring, flying high or (insert any number of aviation-related analogies here) despite its amazing profits. That’s because Boeing’s $22.04 billion revenue was lower than Wall Street’s $22.3 billion estimate. Potatoes. Puhtatoes, I know, but still, when Wall Street has expectations, you best meet them. The company delivered 181 new aircraft this year – a 7% increase –  with over 780 more in the works. It’s all very promising but Wall Street wasn’t as smitten with the fact that the company got a one-time $524 million tax-cut that helped bring in that profit. It probably also didn’t help that Malaysia Airlines flights 370 and 17 were both Boeing jets.

“Like”

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But guess who did soar? Facebook. Okay so that’s not exactly shocking news. Maybe just a little bit to the investors who were a tad bit skeptical over Facebook’s lack of mobile ad revenue. But it looks like this quarter cleared up those concerns as the social media giant is up over 60% propelled by those very ads and the cash they are bringing in – even as I write this. Analysts expected sales of $2.8 billion but hellooooo – this is Facebook we’re talking about and it pulled in more – $2.9 billion, naturally. Net income was up over $790 million and $.30 a share. That’s way more than double from a year ago. And with 1.5 million advertisers, and over 1.3 billion users, Facebook and its investors have a lot to “like.”

 

At Netflix Green is the New Black, Mucho Verde at Chipotle and Harleys Not Hogging the Market

I’ll subscribe to that…

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As if the popularity behind Orange is the New Black and House of Cards weren’t good enough, things at Netflix just keep getting better. The video streaming company surpassed the 50 million subscriber mark and released second quarter earnings with revenues hitting $1.34 billion. That figure was in fact an almost 37% increase over last year’s number.  So whose watching Netflix? Sure Americans are but the California-based comoany has pretty much doubled its international streaming. Net income for the company was $71 million, which is more than double the $29 million in net income it pulled in a year ago. Earnings per share came in at $1.15. In case you’re wondering just how much higher Netflix can go, just watch when it invades a bunch of European countries including Germany, France and Switzerland.

Ole Chipotle…

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things are looking mucho grande at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) as the food chain just released its mucho bueno earnings. As you may have heard, the company sets out to use higher quality ingredients than some other fast-food chains.  As you also may have heard, those ingredients tend to cost a bit more – and they keep going up. So like any other company would explicably do, it raised its prices in April to offset the price increase of those higher quality ingredients. But, because millennials – and regular people too (but especially millennials) –  appreciate all the thought and effort that goes into preparing that higher quality food, they still preferred to dine at Chipotle, which helped the company beat analysts predictions hard core. Revenue was up 29% to $1.1 billion and the stock hit an all time high. Their catering division (yes they do that too) also brought in some nice cash thanks to May and June and the numerous events that take place during that time. Be on the lookout for more Chipotles to open their doors as close to 200 of them are in the works.

Dude, where’s my hog?

Image courtesy of sritangphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sritangphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Harley-Davidson – a name that evokes adventure, American ruggedness, and earnings too. Indeed, the biggest US producer of arguably the most iconic vehicle on two wheels regularly churns out a profit – $354 million this year with net income up 30%. Unfortunately the company’s profit has been declining for a couple of years now. And even though revenue was up 12%, the company will be putting out 9,000 fewer hogs this year. Apparently (potential) riders are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Street models and have been not so eager to buy other models. That and a particularly nasty winter – yes, even those rugged Harley riders were not immune from Mother Nature’s wrath – have got the legendary company rethinking its numbers. So get out there and get yourself on a hog!

Botoxed-Off, Toyed-Off and Great Whites Great For Tourism

In this week’s pharmaceutical saga…

Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Allergan, the company behind the super-important and super glam, Botox, is making news while erasing wrinkles. How ’bout that. The company announced its plan to cut 1500 jobs – roughly 13% of its work force  – hoping it will make things more efficient and productive. In the meantime Valeant, together with Pershing Square Capital, has been trying to buy(out) Allergan for $53 billion and has been tattle-telling on Allergan to regulators -and anybody else who’ll listen, about alleged rumors and other comments it made. More like the stuff of playgrounds than boardrooms but at least it keeps things interesting. The Irvine, California-based company is trying to fend off Valeant’s offers for a (hostile) takeover which Allergan says “substantially undervalues” the company. Unfortunately for Allergan, its biggest shareholder Capital Research Management just sold off its own 6.3% stake in the company, which seems to suggest that it doesn’t feel Allergan’s value is going much higher than what Valeant is offering.

Not feeling very playful…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hasbro, maker of some of America’s most beloved board games, like Monopoly and Twister, is finding that America is not so much loving them anymore. The company that also makes Play-Doh and Nerf toys took a hit in its earnings even though sales in its boys division pulled off a 32% surge to the tune of $335 million in sales. Despite their super-hero status, there was only so much Marvel Superheroes and Transformers could do as no force seems to be greater than Wall Street which hoped for $842 million and a profit of $.37 per share. Sadly, Hasbro was only able to reign in $829 million and a penny less in earnings per share. My Little Pony and her and perfectly coiffed equine friends also helped with a $163.8 million in sales but those board games took a 12% beating. However, this time last year, the toy company pulled in over $766 million, so at least it wasn’t a total bust.

Great Escapes…

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instead of filling would be beach goers with fear, Great White Sharks have been causing a tourist spending frenzy. The carnivorous ocean denizens are creating quite a stir in the retail arena with sales of shark paraphanerlia surging. Sure, the sighting of a fin might evoke fear and panic, but don’t rule out the need for shark hoodies, shark-themed candies and the ever cuddly great-white shark plush toy. Since 1916, there have been over a hundred unprovoked attacks – thirteen of them deadly. From Cape Cod down to the Florida coast and beyond, you can count on one thing – Sharks are good for the economy.

 

Drug Company Ex-pat? Suspicious Packages and License to Bitcoin

Isn’t that a tax relief?

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chicago-bsed drug giant AbbVie, maker of the very popular Humira,  is buying fellow company Shire Pharmaceuticals for close to $55 billion. Wall Street seems to be happy about the strategically financial move. Too bad the Obama administration and some members of Congress don’t share the joy. And why whouldn’ they? Tax inversion my friends.  Basically, it’s shifting the tax residence of the company abroad, in this case the UK. AbbVie will now have a much more manageable tax rate of 13% instead of an onerous 22% which will free up the company to do all sorts of new and exciting things, although its headquarters will still remain in Chicago. It’s the largest inversion deal. Ever. But Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is particularly miffed and said, “We should not be providing support for corporations that seek to shift their profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.” However, others argue the US government ought to make the tax laws more hospitable to these big companies.

Do I need to sign for that?

Image courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FedEx isn’t having the best day. It probably has something to with that indictment on drug-trafficking charges. Hard to believe (or not) but the shipping company was indicted by a San Francisco grand jury for conspiracy to deliver prescription drugs for illegal internet pharamcies. Whoops. The indictment also says that FedEx knew about this for a decade and even took precautions to protect itself. To be fair, FedEx says it asked the US government on several occasions for a list of the illegal pharmacies but the government apparently never got around to it. So there. However, the DEA and FDA said FedEx was repeatedly warned. Couriers in Kentucky and Tennesee, among other places, feared for their lives as packages were delivered to empty parking lots, vacant homes and of course the occasional school. Because, after all, what alleged crime would be complete without involving the use of a school? FedEx delivers over 10 million packages a year and pulled in $44.3 billion in revenue for 2013. FedEx was charged with 15 counts of conspiracy but no officers have been charged. The company could face fines of over $800 million.

Bitcoin to go mainstream?

Image courtesy of cuteimage/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cuteimage/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New York  Department of Financial Services is showing some bitcoin love by attempting to create a license for the crypto-currency. Sounds too good to be true, huh? But really it’s an attempt to make the virtual currency more mainstream. People engaged in criminal and other questionable activities tend to like bitcoin for its anonymous aspect. Who wouldn’t. But this new system might just make those shady transactions a little bit more challenging to complete. Policies and procedures would also be established to assist with the inenvitable consumer complaint and also to outline what happens in the case of a problem ala Mt. Gox and its hacker issue that caused the bitcoin trading exchange to go bust. Ben Lawsky, Superintendant of Financial Services said, “We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity – without stifling beneficial innovation.” Sounds fair.

 

Heads Will Roll At Microsoft, Morgan Stanley Shows the Other Banks How It’s Done and, Barbie’s Not Looking Too Fabulous This Quarter

Giving the (pink) slip…

Image courtesy of jscreationzs?FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs?FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things are looking…well…not so good over at Microsoft, particularly for those working for the Nokia division which Microsoft bought back in April for the not-so-modest sum of $7.2 billion. Over 12,000 head are expected to roll. Another 6,000 Microsoft employees – give or take – will also get pink their slips. And while folks at Microsoft are not too happy, Wall Street actually celebrated the news by sending shares of the company up 3%. CEO Satya Nadella, in his post just five months, announced that the time has come (actually it came awhile ago) for Microsoft to step up its “A” game to compete with Google and Apple. So he wants to help shift things from its mostly software centered business to more online services, apps and devices. A respectable endeavor, no doubt. Nadella is Microsoft’s third CEO and this is the company’s largest round of lay-offs in its 39 year existence.

On top of the world…

Image courtesy of hywards/FreDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Morgan Stanley’s Chairman and CEO James Gorman doesn’t need to polish his resume. The last of the big banks to announce their earnings this week, Morgan Stanley reported boffo numbers for its second quarter with major props going out to its wealth management and investment banking divisions. Net income rose to $1.86 billion – a 131% increase over last years $803 million. Its clients’ assets exceeded $2 trillion (note the “t”). Its earnings gain was helped by a $609 million tax benefit amd its profit margins for the first time hit 21%. All while rivals Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America posted lower than expected profits. Boohoo.

Toy-ing with earnings…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Barbie is not enjoying her fabulous fifties. The iconic buxom blond doll, which turned 55 this year, and its parent company, Mattel, are having a very bad second quarter with a 60% drop in revenue. It might have been worse were it not for Mattel’s Disney Frozen toys and its American Girl products. But Barbie, well she was down 15%. Apparently she’s not as relatable as her Monster High competitiors. Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price brands were also down. Net income for the toy company was $28.3 million – a far far cry from last year’s $73.3 million. But it wasn’t all Barbie’s fault. Mattel’s purchase of MEGA Brands, its attempt at competing with the Lego powerhouse, also put a dent in those figures.