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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
July 31, 2014
11:13 EDTTFM, KR, WFM, FWMWhole Foods retreats after lowering guidance
Shares of Whole Foods Market (WFM) are sinking after the company cut its full-year guidance. WHAT'S NEW: Whole Foods reported stronger than expected third quarter revenue and earnings per shares of $3.4B and 41c, respectively, and said that its comparable store sales had risen 3.9%. However, the supermarket operator cut its full-year sales growth outlook to 9.6%-9.9% from its previous guidance of 10.5%-11%. The company also reduced its full-year EPS outlook to $1.52-$1.54 from $1.52-$1.56 and cut its full-year comparable sales growth guidance to 4.1%-4.4% from 5%-5.5%. "Our business model is producing industry-leading sales per gross square foot, healthy returns on invested capital and strong operating cash flow," said Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb in a statement. "We are seeing signs of stability in our sales trends and believe our strategic initiatives will help generate further momentum and produce increasing returns on invested capital over the long term," Robb added. ANALYST REACTION: JPMorgan analyst Ken Goldman downgraded the stock to Neutral from Overweight, stating that the company is likely to deliver low fiscal 2015 EPS as it increases its investments in a number of areas, including advertising, store refreshes, and home delivery. Additionally, Whole Foods could lower its fiscal 2015 EPS guidance well below the $1.74 it provided last quarter, the analyst added. Goldman reduced his fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016 EPS estimates significantly below consensus levels and cut his price target on the stock to $38 from $48. Also downgrading the stock was UBS analyst Jason DeRise. Increased competition has caused Whole Foods' market share gains in natural food to stall, according to DeRise. To attract additional natural food customers it must cut its prices, he contended. The analyst downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy and cut his price target to $41 from $48. Morgan Stanley was more upbeat on the stock, saying that the company's growth is poised to re-accelerate over the longer term. The firm recommended buying the stock on weakness and kept a $50 price target and Overweight rating on the shares. PRICE ACTION: In mid-morning trading, Whole Foods fell 3.4% to $37.76. Other supermarket stocks also retreated, with The Fresh Market (TFM) falling 3.5% to $29.62, Fairway Group (FWM) losing 1.8% to $5.95, and Kroger (KR) losing 1% to $49.22.
News For WFM;TFM;FWM;KR From The Last 14 Days
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November 24, 2014
10:00 EDTWFM, TFMOn The Fly: Analyst Initiation Summary
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06:31 EDTWFMWhole Foods initiated with an Underperform at Longbow
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06:27 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market initiated with an Underperform at Longbow
Longbow initiated The Fresh Market with an Underperform and $30 price target. The firm expects shelf space allocation of organic/natural selections to expand further in the grocery channel, resulting in comp pressure and earnings risk.
November 21, 2014
09:12 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market shares should be bought on weakness, says Stephens
Stephens said The Fresh Market's Q3 gross margins were hurt from absorbing cost inflation and continued promotional activity, though the firm expects margin pressures to ease in Q4 and beyond. Stephens maintains its Overweight rating and $44 price target on the stock and recommends shares be bought on any post-earnings weakness.
November 20, 2014
18:21 EDTTFMOn The Fly: After Hours Movers
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16:08 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market sees FY14 adjusted EPS $1.56-$1.64, consensus $1.57
Sees FY14 SSS up 2.5%-3.5%.
16:07 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market reports Q3 adjusted EPS 27c, consensus 28c
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15:28 EDTTFMNotable companies reporting after market close
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November 19, 2014
08:58 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market November volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
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08:15 EDTWFMWhole Foods testing price cuts in Texas, says Jefferies
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November 14, 2014
12:11 EDTKRKroger subsidiary hiring 1,200 permanent positions in CA
Ralphs Grocery Company announced this week that it is hiring to fill an estimated 1,200 permanent positions at its stores in Southern California. Ralphs currently employs more than 19,000 associates at its stores in Southern California. Ralphs is a subsidiary of The Kroger Co.
11:16 EDTTFMThe Fresh Market November volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
The Fresh Market November call option implied volatility is at 77, December is at 44, March is at 37; compared to its 26-week average of 43 according to Track Data, suggesting large price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on November 20

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