Campbell Soup’s earnings increase
HADDONFIELD, N.J. » Summer is rarely a hot sales season for Campbell Soup Co., and this year’s sweltering June and July made that even more true, but the company said yesterday that cost-cutting and strong drink sales helped its net income climb.
The results topped most Wall Street expectations, but Campbell’s outlook spooked many investors, and its shares slid 3 percent, or $1.11, to $36.21 yesterday.
The Camden, N.J.-based company reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose 63 percent from the same period last year to $113 million, or 33 cents a share. Excluding one-time items from 2009’s results, the increase was 7 percent.
The company posted better production numbers and benefited from lower taxes, yet sales fell slightly compared with the same period last year, from $1.53 billion to $1.52 billion for the quarter. For the full fiscal year, they fell 1 percent, to $7.6 billion from $7.7 billion.
During the quarter, sales of both ready-to-serve and condensed soups slipped 7 percent.
The company says fourth-quarter sales alone figures don’t speak to the health of the company.
But its soup business has faltered all year, and sales are not expected to rebound strongly soon. Sales in the category fell 4.7 percent. Campbell’s expensive ready-to-serve lines like Chunky Soup were the hardest hit, with sales down 9 percent in fiscal 2010. The full-year decline followed seven straight years of growth.
Harley, union OK tentative pact
MILWAUKEE » Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and its union leaders reached a proposed labor agreement yesterday that could keep manufacturing operations and hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin.
The proposal still needs to be ratified by union workers and approved by the motorcycle company’s board. Workers are expected to vote on the contract Sept. 13.
Harley had previously said labor costs at its operations in Milwaukee and Tomahawk were too high. The company threatened to move production to Kansas City or another U.S. city if Wisconsin workers wouldn’t agree to certain labor concessions.
The company declined to reveal the terms of the proposed contract.
Bullishness up from 17-month low
Optimism about U.S. stocks increased by the most since July as economic reports emboldened investors following three straight weekly losses in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to a survey from the American Association of Individual Investors.
The proportion of investors who anticipate a gain in the next six months jumped to 30.8 percent in the week ended Sept. 1, the biggest rise since the period that ended July 15. That compares with the 17-month low of 20.7 percent the previous week and the historical average of 39 percent, according to the Chicago-based company, which has tracked individual investors’ projections since 1987.
"The improvement in bullish sentiment comes on the heels of a strong stock market advance during the first trading day of September," Charles Rotblut, AAII vice president, wrote in a report. "A fall in the percentage of bearish and neutral investors accounted for the 10.1 percentage point increase in bullish sentiment."
ON THE MOVE
Palama Settlement Board of Trustees has selected Jean A. Evans as its executive director. She has more than 20 years of local management experience in the nonprofit health, education and social services industry, including as executive director of the American Lung Association in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Association of Broadcasters has awarded $70,750 of academic scholarships to students intending to study and work in broadcasting. While $7,500 was awarded to Hawaii Pacific University, another $63,250 was awarded to the following students at-large: Portia Black, Storme Eisenhour, Malina Fagan, Kate Ganiron, Myles Gregory, Josie Haugh, Jordan Helle, Kaipo Kiaha, Christian Kaholokula, Ryan Erik Lam, Randee Layosa, Shea Ledbetter, Pauline Lucas, Michelle Lynn Mallen, Marchel Marcos, Heidi Neidhardt, Noel Nicholas, Derek Nihei, Kina Palaualelo, Cherry Pascual, Jermel-Lynn Quillopo, Keyana Stevens, Erica Weber, Kelsey Whitman, Chloe Yester, Melody Yeung and Kimberly Yuen.
Hawaii First Inc. is the first management company in the country to receive the National Association of Parliamentarians award. The Association of Professional Reserve Analysts has awarded the Professional Reserve Analyst designation to Hawaii First Vice President Casey Rothstein.