Blog Posts by Daniel Gross

  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., in the process of turning itself into three separate entities, cut its profit forecast for the year as a key indicator of pricing power grew less than expected in the latest period.

    Shares fell 2.6% to $22.13 in morning trading.

    Hilton Chief Executive Christopher Nassetta said the company faced “a macroeconomic environment that continues to underperform expectations.”

    System wide revenue per available room—also known as RevPar, a key industry gauge of pricing power—rose to a currency-neutral 1.3%. The company expected RevPAR to increase between 2% and 4%.

    Also on Wednesday, Wyndham Worldwide Corp. reported less-than-expected sales and RevPar increased 1.4%, which it said reflected “decelerating industry RevPar trends.” Shares of Wyndham fell 4.3% in recent trading.

    Hilton now sees full-year earnings in a range of 86 cents to 89 cents a share, on an adjusted basis, after

    Read More »from [$$] Hilton Cuts 2016 Forecast, Says Spinoffs on Track for Year’s End
  • Comcast Reports Strong Earnings, Powered by Rio Olympics

    Comcast Corp. reported higher revenue and earnings in its third quarter, as cable operations added more video subscribers and the summer Olympics Games powered strong gains at its NBCUniversal broadcast unit.

    NBCUniversal’s latest performance is likely to be tracked closely given AT&T Inc.’s recent agreement to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion—a deal modeled largely on Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal, which married content and distribution.

    Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts declined to comment on the AT&T deal on a call with analysts on Wednesday, but said that he believes “we have a fabulous company” and NBCUniversal has been a great investment.

    Its NBCUniversal unit’s revenue jumped 28% over a year earlier to $9.2 billion on business tied to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics broadcasts. Excluding the boost from the event, NBCU’s revenue increased 5.7% compared with a year earlier.

    Comcast added 32,000 video

    Read More »from Comcast Reports Strong Earnings, Powered by Rio Olympics
  • Earnings Watch

    General Dynamics Corp. on Wednesday said it delivered fewer planes in the third quarter, driving down its revenue, but cost-cutting helped boost profit.

    The Virginia-based aerospace and defense company sells communication systems, ships and combat vehicles to the government, in addition to Gulfstream business jets. Solid demand for the high-end business jet has boosted results in recent years.

    But in the third quarter, General Dynamics delivered fewer Gulfstream jets, and aerospace sales slipped 14% from a year earlier. The company has worked to trim expenses to support profit, and a 4.2% drop in costs and expenses helped counter the sales decline.

    General Dynamics reported a quarterly profit of $683 million, or $2.21 a share, down from $733 million, or $2.28 a share, a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations were $2.48 a share, factoring out a charge related to the A-12 settlement reached with the Navy in 2013. Revenue

    Read More »from Earnings Watch
  • [$$] Airbus, Boeing Follow Own Paths to Further Growth

    The world’s two largest aircraft makers laid out divergent year-end goals Wednesday as Boeing Co. said it needs to land new sales, while Airbus Group SE indicated that it would deliver more jets.

    Both companies are under pressure from investors to deliver on their orders of 10,000 jets valued at more than $1.5 trillion and maintain the momentum of fresh deals.

    Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said the company, which reported forecast-beating third-quarter profit, remains committed to its goal of boosting margins to about 15% by the end of the decade from around 10% now.

    The plane maker needs, however, to find more buyers for its widebody jets, especially the 777.

    Sales of twin-aisle planes that typically have higher profit margins have been sluggish this year as airlines in Asia and the Middle East dialed back on expansion plans.

    Boeing has won new orders for just 17 of its existing 777 jets this year, pushing the

    Read More »from [$$] Airbus, Boeing Follow Own Paths to Further Growth
  • Federal investigators have launched a probe into whether U.S. companies linked to a Chinese billionaire illegally avoided punitive import tariffs on Chinese aluminum, according to people familiar with the investigation.

    Department of Homeland Security agents in recent weeks questioned former employees of companies associated with Liu Zhongtian, the founder and chairman of aluminum giant China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., the people said.

    Homeland Security has been coordinating with the U.S. Department of Justice on the probe, some of the people said. Agents are investigating whether the companies committed criminal or civil violations that could include smuggling, conspiracy and wire fraud, they said.

    The Journal reported in September that the U.S. Commerce Department is investigating whether Aluminum Shapes LLC, a New Jersey company, imported pallets to remelt as a way to avoid tariffs, part of a broader probe into Mr. Liu’s activities. The Commerce

    Read More »from [$$] Homeland Security Probes U.S. Aluminum Firms Over Chinese Imports
  • [$$] Defense Rests in George Washington Bridge Lane-Closure Trial

    NEWARK—Lawyers for a former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rested their case Wednesday, clearing the way for the jury in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure trial to begin deliberations in the coming days.

    As jurors prepare to consider the case, which they are expected to get Monday, the judge gave them direction on a question that could affect how hard it is reach a guilty verdict: Is retribution a motive for a crime or part of a crime in and of itself?

    Over the nearly six weeks of the trial so far, federal prosecutors have argued that the former Christie aide, Bridget Kelly, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, conspired with another agency official to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J. They did this to punish the borough’s Democratic mayor for declining to endorse the Republican governor’s re-election bid, prosecutors say.

    The former Port Authority

    Read More »from [$$] Defense Rests in George Washington Bridge Lane-Closure Trial
  • Fox News star Megyn Kelly has changed agents and publicity teams since last year. Now the question is if she will change TV networks.

    Host of “The Kelly File,” one of the cable-news channel’s most popular shows, Ms. Kelly is in active talks over her contract, which expires next July. Her profile has been rising during the presidential election cycle, in part thanks to a dust-up with Republican candidate Donald Trump.

    Keeping Ms. Kelly is a priority for senior management, including Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of Fox News and co-executive chairman of its parent company, 21st Century Fox.

    Asked if Ms. Kelly would stay at the channel, Mr. Murdoch said in an interview that she is important to the network and he hopes to get a contract signed “very soon,” but noted, “it’s up to her.”

    Mr. Murdoch said he is kept abreast of the talks “every minute of the day.” While he doesn’t want to lose her, he said, “we have a deep bench

    Read More »from [$$] Megyn Kelly Seeks Salary North of $20 Million in Contract Talks With Fox News
  • BEIJING—China is ratcheting up efforts to curtail credit growth in murky areas of its financial system, putting under scrutiny popular investment products that have flown under the radar of regulators.

    In the latest move, the central bank is requiring commercial banks to count high-yielding wealth-management products as part of their overall credit, according to a notice dated Oct. 20 that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    With the action, the People’s Bank of China is seeking to strengthen oversight of investment products peddled by banks as a way to boost lending.

    In the past year, China’s easy-money policy has sent capital bouncing from stocks, bonds and commodities to real estate in the search for return.

    Wealth-management products have appealed to many Chinese savers grappling with low-yielding investment options. Much of the funds have been channeled into corporate bonds, which has kept money flowing to sectors already

    Read More »from [$$] China Central Bank Seeks More Control Over Wealth-Management Products
  • Detroit Keeps Foot on the Gas When It Comes to Trucks

    Detroit’s truck wars are heating up with auto makers pledging billions of dollars for pickup truck and sport-utility vehicle production over the next three years despite fears that the U.S. auto market is peaking.

    General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plan to invest heavily to boost output of existing models and make room for new ones. While Ford said this month it is trimming some pickup production, it still plans to add new SUVs to its lineup and reintroduce a midsize pickup by 2019.

    The auto industry’s annual full-size pickup capacity is expected to grow 5%, or by 206,000 vehicles, by 2019, according to Large SUV capacity could increase about 16%, Barclays says.

    Detroit auto makers have been reluctant to add capacity following years of costly plant closings, and analysts are concerned the market will cool by the time the new output hits dealer lots. Popular when fuel is cheap and the

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  • Carlyle Group LP said it expects to raise $100 billion for its funds in the next several years from investors seeking higher returns in an era of ultralow interest rates and richly valued stocks and bonds.

    The Washington, D.C., private-equity firm currently manages around $169 billion, up from $106.7 billion at the end of 2010. David Rubenstein, who founded the firm in 1987 with William Conway and Daniel D’Aniello, called the fundraising goal “substantial but quite realistic.”

    Private-equity firms like Carlyle buy companies and fix them up with the intention to sell them later for a profit. The firms also buy real estate, make loans and invest in infrastructure and corporate debt, among other activities.

    Carlyle on Wednesday reported a third-quarter profit of $800,000, up from a loss of $83.9 million in the year-earlier period. Shares rose 1.9% to close at $16.05 on Wednesday.

    Mr. Rubenstein’s optimistic view of the fundraising

    Read More »from [$$] Carlyle Aims to Raise Another $100 Billion Amid Ultralow Interest Rates


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