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General Mills Posts Quarterly Earnings

General Mills, Inc. (GIS) posted its first quarter earnings on Wednesday, September 21. The company's stock jumped 6% following the release of the report.

Net sales totaled $4.7 billion for the quarter, in line with analysts' estimates. This was up 4% from $4.5 billion at the same time last year.

"We continue to deliver strong performance in a highly volatile operating environment," said General Mills CEO, Jeff Harmening. "Given the strength of our first-quarter results and confidence in our ability to adapt to continued volatility ahead, we are increasing our full-year outlook for net sales, operating profit, and EPS growth."

The company reported net income of $820 million or $1.35 per adjusted share for the quarter. This was up 31% from $627 million or $1.02 per adjusted share during the same quarter last year.

General Mills reported that operating profit grew 29% to $1.1 billion due to net gains on divestitures. The company saw a 10% increase to $3 billion in net sales in its North America Retail segment. The company's International segment was down 30% to $652 million in net sales. The company expects inflationary costs and supply chain disruptions to have the biggest impact on business this fiscal year. General Mills expects its organic sales to increase 6% to 7%, an upward revision from its original estimates of 4% growth.

General Mills, Inc. (GIS) shares ended the week at $79.17, up 5% for the week

FedEx Reports Earnings

FedEx Corporation (FDX) announced first quarter earnings on Thursday, September 22. The shipping company's stock rose 3% following the release of the report.

Revenue for the first quarter reached $23.2 billion, up 5% from revenue of $22.0 billion reported during the same quarter last year. This missed analyst's expected revenue of $23.6 billion.

"We're moving with speed and agility to navigate a difficult operating environment, pulling cost, commercial, and capacity levers to adjust to the impacts of reduced demand," said FedEx CEO, Raj Subramaniam. "As our team continues to work aggressively to address near-term headwinds, we're meaningfully strengthening our business and customer experience, including delivering an outstanding peak."

FedEx reported quarterly net income of $875 million, or $3.33 per adjusted share. This was down from $1.1 billion, or $4.09 per adjusted share during the same quarter last year.

The company revealed that operating results were negatively affected by global volume softness but was partially offset by fuel surcharge increases. FedEx Ground operating income was up 3%, which is attributed to yield management actions and its' expansion in FedEx Home Delivery sector. The company expects cost savings of $1.5 to $1.7 billion in the FedEx Express segment for fiscal 2023.

FedEx Corporation (FDX) shares closed at $149.33, down 7% for the week.

AutoZone Posts Quarterly Report

AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) released its fourth quarter earnings report on Monday, September 19. The auto parts supplier surpassed analysts' expectations for both earnings and sales.

The company reported net sales of $5.3 billion during the quarter, exceeding analysts' expectations of $5.2 billion. This was up 8.9% from $4.9 billion in sales during the same quarter last year.

"Our results are a testament to our AutoZoners' ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional customer service every day," said AutoZone CEO, Bill Rhodes. "Our retail business performed well this quarter ending with positive same store sales on top of last year's strong performance. And our commercial business growth continued to be exceptionally strong at 22%. The investments we have made in both inventory availability and technology are enhancing our competitive positioning. We are optimistic about our growth prospects heading into our new fiscal year."

AutoZone reported net income of $810 million for the quarter, up from $786 million in the same quarter last year. On a diluted earnings per share basis, the company reported earnings of $40.51, up 13.4% from $35.72 reported in the same quarter last year.

Domestic same store sales increased 6.2% for the quarter as demand for used cars continues to rise. During the fourth quarter, AutoZone opened 53 new stores domestically, 30 in Mexico and 14 in Brazil. It ended the quarter with 6,943 stores in the United States, 703 in Mexico and 72 in Brazil. The total store count was 6,168 as of August 27, 2022. The increase in new store openings resulted in the company's inventory increasing 21.5% year over year in the reported quarter on store openings.

AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) shares ended the week at $2,096.84, down 5% for the week.

The Dow started the week at 30,723 and closed at 29,590 on 9/23. The S&P 500 started the week at 3,850 and closed at 3,693. The NASDAQ started the week at 11,339 and closed at 10,868.

Treasury Yields Skyrocket

U.S. Treasury yields rose early in the week in anticipation of the Federal Reserve's next steps. Yields continued to soar on Wednesday, marking an 11-year high as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in its continuous attempt to fight inflation.

On Wednesday, the Fed increased its interest rate by another 75 basis points. As a result, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up almost 20 basis points at 3.71%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was at 3.64%.

"My main message has not changed since Jackson Hole," Powell said in his post-meeting news conference, referring to his policy speech at the Fed's annual symposium in August in Wyoming. "The FOMC is strongly resolved to bring inflation down to 2%, and we will keep at it until the job is done."

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial claims for unemployment increased 5,000 to 213,000 for the week ending September 17, a modest increase after five weeks of new lows. Continuing unemployment claims fell by 22,000 to 1.38 million, still well below pre-pandemic levels of 1.7 million.

"Fed officials are hitting the brakes hard, but so far employers are just giving this policy a great, big yawn and holding on tight to their workers," said Chief Economist at FWDBONDS, Christopher Rupkey. "It's either that or there is some sort of stealth job losses where those made redundant are not getting employment benefits"

The 10-year Treasury note yield finished the week of 9/23 at 3.69%, while the 30-year Treasury note yield finished the week at 3.61%.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

Freddie Mac released its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey on Thursday, September 22. Mortgage rates continued to increase for the week.

This week, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 6.29%, up from last week's average of 6.02%. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.88%.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 5.44% this week, up from 5.21% last week. During the same week last year, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.15%.

"The housing market continues to face headwinds as mortgage rates increase again this week, following the 10-year Treasury yield's jump to its highest level since 2011," said Freddie Mac's Chief Economist, Sam Khater. "Impacted by higher rates, house prices are softening, and home sales have decreased. However, the number of homes for sale remains well below normal levels."

Based on published national averages, the savings rate was 0.17% as of 9/22. The one-year CD averaged 0.60%.

Published September 23, 2022

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