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Delta (DAL) earnings Q4 2019 beat estimates

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A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300 landing in Amsterdam.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines’ fourth-quarter profits topped Wall Street’s expectations, as lower fuel prices and strong travel demand — particularly for high-priced premium tickets — boosted the carrier’s results and sent shares up more than 4%.

Delta doesn’t have the beleaguered Boeing 737 Max in its fleet, the plane that has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Competitors American, Southwest and United do have the Max in their fleets and have had to scale back growth planes as the fuel-efficient jets wait to be cleared by regulators to fly again.

The crash led to a ballooning crisis at Boeing that cost the previous CEO his job and drew ire from lawmakers over internal emails that showed Boeing employees gloating about bullying regulators into approving less-rigorous training than some had requested. Boeing’s new CEO, General Electric aviation and Blackstone Group veteran Dave Calhoun, started Monday.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau on Tuesday that the issues don’t effect the carrier, which operates older Boeing 737 jets, directly.

“I think it’s been widely reported that there’s a culture issue at Boeing for some time now,” Bastian said. “Dave will clean it up.”

Delta reported adjusted earnings of $1.70 a share, compared with analysts’ expectations of $1.40 a share.

On an unadjusted basis, Delta reported net income of $1.1 billion, up 8% from $1.02 billion during the fourth quarter of 2018. Revenues in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 6.5% from a year earlier to $11.44 billion, slightly above analysts’ estimates. Revenue from Delta’s premium cabins, such as business class, grew 9% to $3.7 billion. That was more than twice the growth rate for the main cabin, where revenue was $5.24 billion in the fourth quarter.

Delta benefited from cheaper fuel and the unwinding of its minority stake in Brazilian carrier Gol, the result of Delta’s new stake in Gol’s larger South American competitor Latam.

Delta said it expects unit revenues to be flat to up 2% in the first quarter of 2020, and flat margins. The airline reiterated its 2020 guidance of earnings per share of $6.75 to $7.75.



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Walmart will combine its store, online buying teams, company memo says

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Cashiers ring up shoppers at a Walmart Inc. store in Burbank, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart is restructuring the company to combine its team of buyers for Walmart.com and its team of buyers for the company’s stores as the big-box retailer aims to turn e-commerce into a profitable business, according to a company memo sent Tuesday.

Walmart previously relied on the separate teams to choose products and prices for its website and stores. The two sides of the business have separate chief executives. Marc Lore, the founder of Jet.com, leads Walmart’s e-commerce in U.S. John Furner leads the store side of the business.

In the memo, Lore and Furner said they’re shaking up the structure of the buying teams. They’ll be broken up into six merchandising teams: apparel, consumables, entertainment, food, hardlines and home. The teams will buy all of Walmart’s items in that category, regardless of where they are sold.

Lore and Furner will stay in their roles and merchandising teams will report to both of them, according to the company memo. In the memo, they wrote that the change will better integrate the company and benefit customers. 

“Our customers only see one Walmart, and they must be No. 1, always,” they wrote in the email to employees.

Walmart has seen a surge of e-commerce growth, fueled by its online grocery business.  It reported online sales growth of 35% during the fourth quarter and 37% for the year.

But the e-commerce side of Walmart’s business has been costly and it’s not yet profitable. It’s had mixed success with e-commerce brands that it’s acquired and incubated. Some brands, such as in-house mattress brand Allswell, have grown. Digital native menswear brand Bonobos has had layoffs and Walmart sold ModCloth, another brand it had acquired. 

The restructuring of the buyer teams was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Walmart missed Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter, after a holiday season with weaker sales of toys and apparel. The company expects e-commerce growth to slow to about 30% in fiscal 2021, but said it’s focused on driving up the sale of general merchandise such as apparel.



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CDC outlines what closing schools, businesses would look like in US pandemic

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Travelers wearing masks arrive on a direct flight from China, after a spokesman from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a traveller from China had been the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Washington, January 23, 2020.

David Ryder | Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined Tuesday what schools and businesses will likely need to do if the COVID-19 virus becomes an epidemic outbreak in the U.S.

Schools should consider dividing students into smaller groups or close and use “internet-based tele-schooling,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call. 

“For adults, businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options,” Messonnier said. She said local communities and cities may need to “modify, postpone or cancel mass gatherings.”

Hospitals may need to triage patients differently, add more tele-health services and delay elective surgery, she said.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare for the expectation that this is going to be bad,” she said.

Last week, U.S. health officials started warning businesses, schools and parents to start preparing for the deadly new coronavirus that’s infected more than 80,000 and killed at least 2,700 to become a global pandemic.

“I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now,” Messionnier said. “You should think about what you would do for child care if schools or day cares closed.”

The CDC late Monday confirmed 53 cases in the U.S., a majority of which came from passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The data shows that 36 of the cases are attributed to the cruise ship, three patients were infected in Wuhan and later evacuated to the U.S. and the rest were largely infected while traveling overseas.

Just two cases were contracted through person-to-person contact in the U.S., the CDC said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.



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Trump calls on Supreme Court’s Sotomayor and Ginsburg to recuse

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India, February 25, 2020.

Al Drago | REUTERS

President Donald Trump accused Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Tuesday of anti-Trump bias and said they should stay out of cases involving him.

Trump cited Sotomayor’s scathing dissent last week in the court’s decision to allow the administration to enforce its “public charge” immigration rule in Illinois.

Ginsburg called Trump a “faker” in 2016, while he was the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and later apologized.

“I just don’t know how they cannot recuse themselves to anything having to do with Trump or Trump related,” the president told reporters during a trip to India.

His comments come just weeks before the court will hear arguments in three cases concerning whether the president can shield his personal and business financial records, including his tax returns, from state prosecutors and Congress. Trump has bucked modern precedent by refusing to make his tax returns public.

Sotomayor’s comments on Friday concerned the Trump administration’s unusual practice of skipping federal appeals courts to bring cases directly in front of the justices.

In the case in question, Wolf v. Cook County, the administration was asking the court to remove a statewide block on a rule that would allow it to add new restrictions on those applying for green cards. The rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent citizenship if they have used or are likely to use public benefits like food stamps.

The top court removed a nationwide block on the rule in January by a 5-4 vote of the court’s conservatives, and the same majority voted Friday to remove the Illinois block, just five days before the matter was to be considered by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Traditionally, the Supreme Court hears cases after they have worked their way through the lower courts, except in extraordinary circumstances. The Trump administration has routinely skipped the appellate stage when its policies have been blocked from going into effect.

“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent.

Trump said in India that the statement was “inappropriate” and that Sotomayor was trying to “shame” her colleagues into voting with her.

“When you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, it’s almost what she’s trying to do is take the people that do feel a different way and get them to vote the way that she would like them to vote,” Trump said. “I just thought it was so inappropriate. Such a terrible statement for a Supreme Court justice.”

The cases involving Trump’s financial records will be argued March 31. Trump has asked the court to reverse three lower court rulings requiring his longtime accounting firm and two of his banks to turn over his financial records to investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office and Democratic-led congressional committees.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor did not immediately respond to requests for comment submitted through the court.



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