Hasbro earnings top estimates
Hasbro Inc. shares rose 5.8 percent after quarterly earnings topped analysts’ estimates, boosted by demand for “Star Wars”-licensed toys and its own Nerf and Play-Doh properties. Profit increased to 38 cents a share in the first quarter, which ended March 27, the Pawtucket, R.I.-based company said on Monday. Revenue rose 16 percent to $831.2 million, beating the $779.3 million projection. Hasbro’s sales surged in both its boys and girls categories, helping make up for a slump in its board-game division. The company also has hitched its fortunes to Walt Disney Co.’s entertainment franchises. Toys based on “Star Wars,” and Disney princesses fueled growth last quarter, Hasbro said. “Demand for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ products continued to be high, and we benefited from the addition of Disney Princess and ‘Frozen’ fashion and small dolls,” chief executive Brian Goldner said in a statement.
DA calls on Congress to require access to encrypted devices
Calling it an issue of victims’ rights, the Manhattan district attorney says it’s crucial that Congress pass legislation requiring tech companies to give law enforcement a way to access information on encrypted phones and other devices. Cyrus Vance Jr. (right) says that while federal law enforcement tends to focus on the national security implications of locked phones, the ramifications go far beyond that. Vance said his office currently has 230 locked phones involved in cases. But tech companies such as Apple and Google say that creating so-called ‘‘back doors’’ that could be used to break phones would undermine security for everyone. Vance spoke Monday just ahead of a hearing on encryption before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Attorneys for Apple and law enforcement are expected to testify.
PepsiCo leader says products will be healthier
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said Monday the company is reshaping its product lineup to better reflect the growing interest in healthy eating and noted it has reduced its reliance on colas for sales. The maker of Frito-Lay snacks, Mountain Dew, Naked juices and Quaker Oats now gets less than 25 percent of its global sales from soda, Nooyi said. And she said just 12 percent of global sales comes from its namesake soda. The remarks underscore PepsiCo’s recent shift in tone as the world’s biggest soda brands have been pressured by intensifying competition and a bad image for fueling weight gain in markets such as the United States. With soda consumption continuing to decline domestically, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been trying to push up sales by weaning people off cheaper options like 2-liter bottles and toward single-serve options or snazzier mini cans and aluminum bottles that fetch more per ounce.
Gasoline prices rise for seventh week
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts have increased for the seventh consecutive week, jumping 8 cents over last week, to over $2 a gallon, according to AAA Northeast. The average price Monday for self-serve regular unleaded was $2.08 per gallon, up from $2 last week. The price is 3 cents below the national per-gallon average for regular unleaded of $2.11. Gasoline prices in Massachusetts as of Monday ranged from a low of $1.91 to a high of $2.29 for regular unleaded, according to the auto club. Monday’s average gas prices per gallon for other grades were $2.31 for midgrade unleaded and $2.49 for premium unleaded. Diesel averaged $2.18 per gallon.
Argentina announces bond issue
Argentina on Monday returned to global bond markets for the first time in 15 years. The South American country announced a $10 billion to $15 billion bond issue. The proceeds will help pay a small group of holdout creditors who refused debt restructurings after Argentina suffered its worst economic crisis and defaulted on $100 billion of bonds in 2001. Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez refused to negotiate with the creditors, often calling them ‘‘vultures.’’ But President Mauricio Macri (right) campaigned last year on promises to boost the continent’s second-largest economy by putting an end to the longstanding debt dispute. The recent repayment deal broke an impasse that had warded off investors and kept Argentina on the margins of international credit markets, forcing it to print more money that stoked one of the world’s highest inflation rates. The new offering is expected to be priced Tuesday.
IBM advances in new fields, weighed down by old ones
IBM delivered a quarterly performance that shows the steady headway it is making in new businesses led by cloud computing and data-analysis software, like its Watson artificial intelligence technology. But the company’s transformation remains very much a work in progress. The erosion of some of its hardware and software products continues to be a drag on growth and profits, overshadowing the gains in the new fields. IBM on Monday reported a 21 percent decline in net profit from continuing operations, to $2.3 billion in the first quarter that ended March 31. Its operating earnings per share fell 19 percent, to $2.35 a share, though that was above the average estimate of Wall Street analysts of $2.09 a share, as complied by Thomson Reuters. The company’s first-quarter revenue declined 5 percent, to $18.7 billion. But that was ahead of analysts’ consensus forecast of $18.29 billion. IBM shares were down slightly in early after-hours trading.
NEW YORK TIMES
Nordstrom cites Web as it announces job cuts
Nordstrom Inc. said Monday it will be cutting about 350 to 400 jobs as it looks to be more nimble at a time where shoppers are shifting their spending more online. The upscale department store, based in Seattle, says the cuts will be primarily in its corporate center and regional support teams. The process should be completed by the end of its fiscal second quarter. The changes will mean $60 million in savings for the current fiscal year. Nordstrom says that it’s first looking at closing unfilled open positions to minimize the impact on current employees. The changes come as Nordstrom, like other retailers, tries to integrate its physical stores with online services and improve its supply network. The layoffs follow job cuts by other retailers including Walmart and Macy's.