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A roundup of the latest news from The Associated Press:
- Smart phones boost Nokia – Profits grow 65%
HELSINKI – The world’s biggest mobile phone maker, Nokia Corp., on Thursday said strong sales of smart phones and lower costs helped profits rise 65 percent in the fourth quarter despite a drop in total revenue.
Net profit was ?948 million ($1.33 billion) in the last three months of 2009, up from ?576 million in the last quarter of 2008, but sales dropped 5.3 percent to ?12 billion from ?12.7 billion.
The Finnish company said it boosted its share of the mobile phone market to 39 percent, from 38 percent in the previous quarter and 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Nokia surprised markets and its stock jumped more than 13 percent to ?10.20 ($14.35) in afternoon trading in Helsinki.
In smart phones, where competitors include Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Apple’s Inc.’s iPhone, Nokia said its market share grew from 35 percent to 40 percent.
"This was the surprise. Many had expected Nokia’s share of smart phones to fall even lower from earlier figures but in fact it was up," said Michael Schroeder from FIM Bank. "And across the board Nokia did pretty well."
The company’s results were also boosted by the fact that special items, one-time costs which include restructuring charges, were significantly lower than in the comparable quarter in 2008.
- Motorola posts 4Q profit but forecast sinks shares
NEW YORK – Motorola Inc. used cost-cutting rather than brisk sales to deliver a fourth-quarter profit Thursday, and a disappointing profit forecast sent its shares sliding.
Motorola stock was down 28 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $7.12 in premarket trading.
Motorola has been looking to reverse the decline of its cell phone business with new "smart" phones based on Google Inc.’s Android mobile software. Two new phones – the Cliq and the Droid – went on sale in the fourth quarter.
Motorola showed strong sales of the new phones, shipping 2 million units. But overall cell phone sales were lower than expected at 12 million units. And total revenue came to $5.7 billion, missing the average forecast from analysts of $5.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
Motorola earned $142 million, or 6 cents per share, reversing a loss of $3.66 billion, or $1.61 per share, in the same period a year earlier. That big loss was driven by a huge accounting charge.
Excluding unusual items, earnings in the most recent quarter were 9 cents per share. That was a penny higher than the average forecast from analysts, who typically exclude one-time charges from their estimates.
Looking ahead, Motorola said it expects a loss in the first quarter of 1 cent to 3 cents per share, excluding unusual items. Analysts expected a profit of 3 cents.
- Siemens to slash 2,000 jobs in Germany
BERLIN — Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG says it plans to slash around 2,000 manufacturing jobs in Germany as part of restructuring measures due to lower market demand.
The company said in a statement Thursday that the job cuts would include roughly 850 jobs in its industry solutions division and drive technology segments. It said the measures were in response to a drop in demand and consolidation in the sector.
- Qualcomm shares tumble 10% after expectations lowered
NEW YORK — Qualcomm Inc., whose chips and other technologies are used in vast numbers of cell phones, sounded a cautious note on the economy on Wednesday, saying a "subdued" recovery forced it to slightly dial back expectations for 2010.
The company’s stock fell 10 percent in extended trading.
A lagging recovery in Europe and Japan and greater demand for cheap phones prompted Qualcomm to reduce its sales estimate for the year, said CEO Paul Jacobs.
The company had expected sales of $10.5 billion to $11.3 billion for the fiscal year, which ends in September. It’s now expecting $10.4 billion to $11 billion. It kept its full-year earnings estimate at $1.56 per share to $1.76 per share.
However, Qualcomm gave a forecast for the current quarter that came in under the expectations of Wall Street analysts. It expects earnings of 49 cents to 53 cents excluding items, and revenue between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 57 cents per share, excluding items, on revenue of $2.75 billion.
For the just-ended fiscal first quarter, Qualcomm posted net income that more than doubled. But it said much of the increase came from investments as financial markets stabilized.
It posted net income of $841 million, or 50 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 27. That was up from $341 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same period the year before.
Revenue rose 6 percent from the same period a year earlier to $2.67 billion.
The company said that earnings excluding one-time items were 62 cents per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 56 cents per share on sales of $2.7 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
- Netflix tops 12 million in subscribers
SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix Inc.’s fourth-quarter performance sparkled as its DVD-by-mail service surpassed 12 million subscribers, and management promised an even shinier sequel to kick off this year. Investors applauded, lifting the company’s shares by more than 16 percent Wednesday.
The results reflect the growing popularity of Netflix plans that bundle DVD rentals with unlimited video streaming over the Internet for as little as $9 per month. Netflix’s success contrasts sharply with more traditional home video options such as Blockbuster Inc. and Movie Gallery, which are closing hundreds of their stores and struggling to attract traffic to the locations still open.
Netflix added more than 1.1 million customers during the quarter — the most in any three-month period in its history. It took Netflix four years to attract its first 1 million subscribers after launching its rental service in 1999.
Management is expecting an even bigger first quarter. The company projects an additional 1.2 million to 1.5 million customers by the end of March. What’s more, Netflix forecast financial results for the first quarter and the full year that exceeded analysts’ current estimates.
Netflix shares soared $8.47 in extended trading after finishing Wednesday’s regular session at $50.07, up $1.02.
The company earned $30.9 million, or 56 cents per share, in its latest quarter, a 36 percent increase from $22.7 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier. The performance topped the average estimate of 45 cents per share among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Fourth-quarter revenue climbed 24 percent to $444.5 million, falling about $1 million below analyst forecasts.
- Florida-based Citrix reports 47% jump in profits
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Citrix Systems Inc. on Wednesday posted a 47 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as sales rose across all its business lines.
But the company, which provides software and equipment for streamlining computer systems, issued a forecast at the low end of Wall Street expectations, and shares fell in after-hours trading.
Citrix said net income for the final three months of 2009 rose to $88.1 million, or 47 cents per share, from $60.1 million, or 33 cents per share, in the 2008 fourth quarter. There were about 2 percent more shares outstanding in the 2009 quarter, which slightly reduced per-share results.
Adjusted for expenses related to acquisitions, restructuring and stock-based compensation, the company said it earned $123 million, or 66 cents per share in the 2009 fourth quarter.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $451.2 million, from $415.7 million in the year-earlier period.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected profit of 52 cents per share, on revenue of $431.5 million. Those estimates did not reflect stock-based compensation expenses, and analysts typically exclude other one-time items from their forecasts.
Citrix said product license revenue increased 4 percent to $168.3 million. Revenue from license updates rose 6 percent to $156.4 million.
Online services revenue grew 18 percent to $82 million. It’s smallest unit, technical services, which is comprised of consulting, education and technical support, had revenue growth of 20 percent, to $44.5 million.
- Wii this – Profits dip at Nintendo
TOKYO — Nintendo, maker of the hit Wii game console, said profit for April through December fell 9 percent after price cuts and the rising yen tarnished strong holiday sales.
Nintendo Co. reported Thursday a 192.6 billion yen ($2.1 billion) profit for the nine months through Dec. 31, down from 212.5 billion yen a year earlier. Sales retreated 23 percent to 1.18 trillion yen.
Kyoto-based Nintendo blamed a lackluster first half and a strong yen for overshadowing robust holiday sales. A 20 percent price cut of the Wii also eroded profitability.
Since Nintendo launched its Wii console in 2006, it has consistently outsold rivals by targeting casual gamers. Rival systems from Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have begun to catch up, but Nintendo showed over Christmas that it was still the one to beat.
To reverse slowing sales, Nintendo lowered the price of the Wii to 20,000 yen from 25,000 yen in Japan, and to $200 from $250 in the U.S. before the year-end shopping season. The move followed price cuts by Sony and Microsoft earlier in the year.
Nintendo subsequently set a U.S. record for most gaming systems sold in a single month. Sales of the Wii hit 3.8 million units in December, which was more than Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 combined, according to market researcher NPD Group.
The company’s "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" was the month’s top-selling game in the U.S., followed by the exercise game "Wii Fit Plus, then "Wii Sports Resort."