Monthly Archives: April 2012

Brunswick beats expectations, profit up 44 pct.

022509searay1_jpg.JPGBrunswick Corp., parent company of Knoxville-based Sea Ray Boats, today reported a first quarter profit of $39.7 million, or 43 cents a share, easily beating analysts expectations.

The company’s earnings represent a 44 percent improvement from a profit of $27.5 million, or 30 cents a share, in the first quarter last year.

Analysts had expected earnings of 37 cents a share, according to Reuters.

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Pity the poor financial analysts — the economy is improving

Beating expectations has become the 1Q norm. The consenus among financial analysts was that corporate America had already squeezed as much profit as it could from a weak economy.

The analysts couldn’t have been more wrong. So far most companies have reported better than expected earnings. And by most, I mean about 8 out of 10.

It started with Alcoa, which reported a profit of $94 million, or 9 cents a share. Analysts were expecting a loss of 4 cents per share. On Tuesday, Apple surprised the experts with a profit of $11.6 billion, a whopping $12.30 a share. Analysts predicted $10.06 per share.

In between a slew of other companies have reported positive earnings.

If the experts could be so wrong about 1Q earnings, maybe the economy is doing better than they’re telling us. Or maybe this will be the highwater mark for 2012. I’m thinking the economy is slowly getting better and profits will be the norm this year.

Here’s a different view from Randall W. Forsyth writing for Barrons.com:

This May Be as Good as It Gets for Stocks in 2012

Here’s what the Fed said today:

Fed: Economy growing modertely; no policy changes

City bond ratings — boring but important

Fitch Ratings recently affirmed its top bond rating of “AAA” for the city of Knoxville, the city said in a statement released Tuesday.

The news release also noted that Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services had recently affirmed high bond ratings for the city — “Aa1” with a stable outlook from Moody’s and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s.

Fitch cited the city’s “sound and established economic underpinning, high and consistent reserves, and affordable debt burden,” according to the news release.

Bond ratings usually aren’t stories local governments spend a lot of time promoting. But they are important — even if they are dry as cardboard.

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TVA, Eastman Chemical named Freedom Award semifinalists

TVA and Eastman Chemical are among three Tennessee companies named semifinalists for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their support of employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Nationwide, 133 employers were selected as semifinalists from more than 3,200 nominations, according to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency.

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Decadence for a good cause

If you have an extra grand in the bank, here’s a chance to spend it on your very own 2012
c05789e2c683ff0a0c0f6a7067002364.jpgKentucky Derby mint julep cup.

Brown-Forman Corp., makers of Woodford Reserve bourbon, is again selling unique mint julep cups for the Kentucky Derby.

The cups went on sale a few days ago and are going fast. Only 75 cups are available

A mere $1,000 gets you a “traditional” Woodford Reserve silver julep cup. The $2,000 gold-plated cups are already sold out.

That’s too bad I really wanted one of the “Prestige” cups plated in 24 karat gold and featuring “a diamond studded horseshoe with 43 diamonds totaling approximately one carat.”

As a Louisville native who grew up just a mile or so from Churchill Downs, I’ve had my share of mint juleps. Can’t say the sugary concoctions are my favorite. I always thought they were a bit much, decadent even.

At least the Woodforrd cups benefit a good cause. Proceeds go to The Heart of a Horse Foundation, whose mission is to “maintain and stimulate the unwavering well-being of horses in America,” according to a news release.

Click here to buy one of the cups.

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New grad job market improving, but still intense

Job OpeningsCompetition will be intense when new college grads hit the job market this spring, but their chances of landing a job are improving, says a report from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Some 1.7 million graduates are about to start the grand post-college job hunt. As is usually the case, new grads who are flexible about relocating and those in hot job fields will fare best.

Fields with the best job prospects include: accounting and finance, engineering, computer science, sales and marketing, education, and health care and social services among, according to Challenger’s annual look at the¬†new grad job market.

 

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Scripps Networks expands dinner reservation service

After a successful launch in Washington, D.C. a few months ago, Knoxville-based Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. is expanding CityEats, its Web-based dinner reservation service.

The service, a partnership powered by Scripps-owned Food Network, is now available in Philadelphia.

About 130 resetaurants in D.C. and Philly have signed up with CityEats. The service will be available in New York and San Francisco later this year, Forbes.com reported Monday.

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Miller signs new Alaska oil and gas lease

Knoxville-based oil and natural gas company Miller Energy Resources has added more than 45,000 acres to its Alaska exploration rights and is looking to add substantially more acres by the end of the year.

Scott+Boruff.jpgMiller said it its wholly owned subsidiary Cook Inlet Energy LLC recently signed a five-year oil and gas lease on 45,764 acres located south of its existing licenses in the Susitna Basin north of Anchorage.

With the new lease, Miller now holds has oil and gas exploration rights on 700,000 acres of state-owned of Alaska land.

“We hope to have 900,000 before the end of the year,” CEO Scott Boruff said.

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Miller Energy Resources raising capital

Miller Energy Resources has raised millions in fresh cash and apparently wants more.Miller_Energy02.jpg

The Knoxville-based oil and gas exploration and production company said Thursday it has raised $10 million through a preferred stock offering to existing shareholders.

The company also announced that veteran corporate finance manager Don Raper has joined the company as senior vice president of finance – capital markets.

The money raised from the stock offering will be used to fund immediate expenses and “help us improve the terms and speed at which we can refinance our existing credit facility,” CEO Scott Boruff said in a prepared statement.

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Real estate key for Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday shares are within sniffing distance of their 52-week low, but not all market watchers are worried.

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday

Writing for TheStreet.com, Jonathan Heller, president of KEJ Financial Advisors, says the Maryville-based restaurant chain deserves watching despite its recent bad earnings report.

Among other positives, Heller notes that RT owns considerable real estate.

“This is no small chain, with about 825 locations, 740 of which are company operated. But the kicker here is that the company owns the land and building for 368 locations and building only for another 250. That’s a potentially interesting portfolio of commercial real estate, especially considering the company’s current $730 million enterprise value. At current levels, shares also trade at just 0.76x tangible book value.”

Here’s Heller’s full report: Hello Ruby Tuesday