Thursday, January 24, 2013

Earnings Call Notes 1.24.13

Like most analysts during earnings season I spend a lot of my day reading earnings calls.  I've been trying to figure out a good way to incorporate some of the data that I gather from those calls into the blog.  To that end below are quotes from calls that I've read today--snippets of information that I find relevant (typically on a macro/industry level) from companies that I have some working understanding of.  All the transcripts are found at Seeking Alpha.

Raymond James--RJF (Regional Broker)
"assets under management, have gravitated more towards fixed-income and our retail clients have gravitated more to fixed income as in asset allocation. So with all those factors at play, we're not as sensitive to the U.S. equity markets as we have been in the past."  
"I think that our investors' sentiment and our sentiment -- investor sentiment survey is up. We haven't seen a massive move to equities. I know a lot of the funds are showing big inflows. I think we've been more with our investors, we try to keep them engaged, maybe they've been a little more engaged in other places. So I haven't seen a big movement yet. But having said that, the commission levels in January have been pretty good so far. I'm a little bit behind in terms probably up to today. But I mean, I can't say we've seen a huge flood into equity since the beginning of the year. "
McCormic--MKC (Spices)
"Globally, digital marketing was 12% of our total spending, up from 5% in 2010." 
"Our brand marketing plans include further increases in digital marketing, support for new product launches and a sharp focus on retail price points. " 
"Sandy. While this devastating storm had a limited impact on our sales to customers in the Northeast, it did impact a number of suppliers in this area, which created product shortages during our critical holiday selling period. We also lost several ships of production time in our manufacturing distribution facilities in Maryland." 
"we've had about a 45% increase in commodity cost over the last 4 years and have taken about 25% pricing and we've taken a number of different actions along the way, and we are always evaluating the impact of that on volume….and by the way, what we have seen as our pricing has gone up, we have seen those price gaps close now as competition, largely private label, has also taken place increases to either catch up or improve their margins." 
"About quick service restaurants: I'm following our customers' releases as closely as -- probably closer than you are because they really impact us. But I would say that we think that it's going to be fairly challenged."  
"[around the holidays] typically we do see an increase in branded shares for a couple of reasons. One is consumers are less willing to take chances on their meals." 
Logitech--LOGI (Consumer Electronics/Peripherals) 
"As we discussed in our Q2 earnings call the main factor in our weak performance was a significant weakness in the global market for new PCs. This weakness which had a negative impact on sales in all our PC related categories reflects the combination of the slow transition to Windows 8 and the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones as mobile computing devices."
Hill Rom--HRC (Healthcare, Hospital Beds)
"Our rental business in North America remains challenging due to continued efforts by hospitals to reduce their operating and supply chain costs. We expect this to continue given the economic pressures they are dealing with. "
Nokia--NOK (Cell Phones)
"we shipped 6.6 million Smart Devices units of which 4.4 million were Lumia devices." 
"Now more than ever, operators are pushing for a third ecosystem to emerge, and they are committing to more marketing, more training, and more in-store displays to help Windows Phone and Lumia to grow." 
Grainger--GWW (General Business Supplies Distribution)
"Light Manufacturing was up in the high-single digits; Heavy Manufacturing and Commercial were up in the mid-single digits; Government and Retail were up in the low-single digits; Reseller was flat; Contractor was down in the low-single digits; and Natural Resources was down in the mid-single digits." 
Symantec--SYMC (Cyber security. Lots of interesting discussion. Worth doing a full read through)
"welcome to the unveiling of Symantec 4.0"  
"despite the fact that we have such great point solutions built mostly from acquisition…We haven't really integrated the value of these different point solutions" 
"the porous nature by which information is flowing across enterprise, individuals, governments and your personal world. Those boundaries are now taken down." 
"There was one large pharmaceutical company, and as the CIO was describing his real estate he said, look, we have 60,000 PCs. We have about 7,000 Macs. We have 15,000 iPads and over 10,000 Android smartphones in their environment that he was aware of. And he said what he needs is an offering that allows him to let people use those devices but, at the same time, protect the business. " 
"while we had the great assets, we didn't have a strategy or an operational plan to focus on delivering value for customers, and that's what Symantec 4.0 is all about." 
Western Digital--WDC (Hard Drives)
"there are early indications of consumers' stronger intentions to purchase new PCs this year."  
"The HDD market shipped approximately 136 million units during the December quarter, slightly less than the 140 million units we anticipated in our guidance." 
Apple--AAPL (Fruit company?)
"Apple is in one of the most prolific periods of innovation of new products in its history." 
"We have now sold well over 0.5 billion iOS devices" 
"The pipeline is chock-full, I don’t want to comment about a specific product, but we feel great about what we have got in store."
Netflix--NFLX (Pay TV Channel which happens to be distributed via internet)
"Both the rise of tablet phones and the rise of smart TVs are very helpful to us, and they are really the beginning of a trend along Internet connected ecosystem devices. And certainly the more convenient those devices get, the more people will feel comfortable watching and enjoying content on a wide range of devices, some day including Google Glasses, Internet Watches all kinds of scenarios over the next five years and as well as multi-screen scenarios, where you use your tablet or phone to chose content on the TV. "
US Airways--LCC (Airline)
"several years ago, we started talking about all the things the industry needed starting with consolidation. Included on that list was management teams that care more about returns than market share. Included on that list was a better management that work better with labor. And I think all those things, we've made huge progress on. Also on that list, though, was a better understanding by the government of the importance of aviation and a national policy from a national aviation policy from the government, and that hasn't happened. And that's next on the list, and that's where the rest of the value, I think, is going to come from, Jamie, and where it needs to come from. We've got -- everything I've talked about so far is self-help, and the industry had to do a lot of this to get itself right, and I think we've made huge progress in that regard. But we're fighting our own government on a lot of issues, and taxation is high on the list, but there are other issues. Other international carriers don't fight the same battles we do, and we're -- well, the playing field's not particularly leveled."

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