Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's Tales

Wal Mart earnings were released this morning—viewed by some as a litmus test on how the economy is really faring. The thinking is, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping—at Wal Mart. The smiley-faced bean counters said total revenues were up nearly 9%, but the company was less than enthused by its performance behind the scenes.

The same forces tugging at other businesses—and individuals—are thwarting the Wal Mart way: interest rates, credit concerns, and higher prices for food and gasoline (which in some ways, actually plays in Wal Mart’s favor.) Still, Wal Mart’s forecast for the rest of the year was not encouraging.

Nor were things any more rosy at Home Depo, where they’re predicting a tougher rest of the year, and into 2008 for the housing market. Frank Blake, chairman & CEO, commented this morning, “We believe the housing and home improvement markets will remain soft into 2008.” Home Depot reported fiscal 2007 second quarter consolidated net earnings of $1.6 billion, or $0.81 per diluted share, compared with $1.9 billion, or $0.90 per diluted share, in the same period in fiscal 2006.

"You can tell it’s Mattell—it makes your face swell." That could be the next tag line for the toy maker, now facing a second recall of some die-cast cars and toys with magnets kids could swallow. The toy cars are painted with leaded paint. The owner of the Chinese factory implicated in Mattel’s first million-toy recall reportedly committed suicide last week at his factory.

Speaking of something that’s hard to swallow, TXU is telling its shareholders they might not get their money’s worth if they vote against the deal to sell the company to private investors.
Apparently, TXU’s executives don’t think the company is going to be anywhere near the $45-billion in value being offered if this deal falls through.
What a strange tale to tell.

Wonder how that must sound to the folks a KKR, who’re all revved-up to buy the utility…and makes you wonder what the people in charge of TXU are really up to.

No comments: