Blaming weather, FedEx cuts profit forecast
FedEx Corp., operator of the world’s largest cargo airline, cut its 2014 profit forecast after unseasonably harsh winter weather grounded flights and slowed shipments by truck and train last quarter. The company trimmed its profit forecast for the full year to a range of $6.55 to $6.80 a share, from $6.73 to $7.10 previously. That falls short of analysts’ estimates of $6.90 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. FedEx is joining companies including Urban Outfitters Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and General Mills Inc. in reporting weaker results because of inclement weather. The term “weather” was mentioned at least once in 195 earnings calls over the last quarter, according to FactSet, a financial research firm. Snow, ice and record cold canceled more than 108,600 commercial flights, halted train service and slowed truck traffic.
British unemployment stays steady at 7.2%
Britain’s unemployment rate held steady in the three months through January, reinforcing the Bank of England’s case for keeping interest rates at a record low. The jobless rate measured by International Labor Organization methods was 7.2 percent, the same as in the final quarter of 2013 the Office for National Statistics said in London. That’s in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Jobless claims, a narrower measure of unemployment, fell 34,600, more than economists had forecast, and wage growth accelerated. The figures hand ammunition to BOE Governor Mark Carney’s argument that officials should be in no hurry to increase borrowing costs. Rapid falls in unemployment last year forced the BOE to abandon the 7 percent threshold for considering a rate increase.
JPMorgan to sell commodities business
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said that it has made a deal to sell its physical commodities business for $3.5 billion as regulators weigh whether to restrict banks’ ability to control power plants, warehouses, and oil refineries. If it’s approved by regulators, the deal would put the commodities business in the hands of energy and commodities trading company Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. JPMorgan said that after the sale it will still provide traditional banking activities in the commodities markets. It will also continue to make markets, provide liquidity and risk management and offer advice to global companies and institutions.
Shares of software firm Paylocity rise in debut
Shares of Paylocity surged 41 percent in their first day of trading on the Nasdaq. The cloud-based software provider’s initial public offering raised nearly $120 million, with 7 million shares pricing for $17 each. That was above the projected range of $14 to $16 per share. The company had initially expected about 6.7 million shares in the IPO, according to a regulatory filing. Paylocity Holding Corp. offered 5 million shares, while about 2 million shares came from the selling stockholders. Paylocity won’t receive any proceeds from those shares. Paylocity’s stock climbed $7.04 to end the day at $24.04.
Market news service to cut off day traders
Business information company Marketwired will stop selling high-frequency traders direct feeds of the information it distributes for clients, the company said. Toronto-based Marketwired said it will continue to provide “full and fair, simultaneous disclosure of information. We will now eliminate any perceived advantages gained through technology by certain customers.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who first announced the company’s decision, said it will end unfair split-second timing advantages for those traders and follows a similar decision last month by Business Wire.
FROM NEWS SERVICES