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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Reading the earnings tea leaves

July 30, 2010

beam1Check out the latest batch of quarterly earnings to parse in the consumer world.

Fortune Brands and Newell Rubbermaid both posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and raised their full-year forecasts despite talk of “headwinds” in the second half of the year by the former and a “lackluster economy” by the latter.

Consumer goods maker Fortune Brands said its results were helped by double-digit sales growth for its home and security products. The maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Titleist golf balls and Moen faucets cited headwinds for the rest of the year higher but  still raised its profit outlook.

“We anticipate the back half of the year will be impacted by certain headwinds we’ve previously discussed, including higher costs for raw materials and transportation, the stronger U.S. dollar, annualizing cost savings and increasingly challenging comparisons to last year’s improving results,” Chief Executive Bruce Carbonari said in a statement.

“However, even with these headwinds, we continue to believe that the markets for each of our three brand groups will grow at a low-single-digit rate for the year,” he added.

Newell said price hikes and strong demand in Latin America and other key markets drove its strong results. That prompted the maker of Rubbermaid containers, Sharpie pens, Graco strollers, Calphalon cookware and more to raise its full-year profit forecast despite what it called “a lackluster economy.”

Of course, with the good earnings news comes the bad.

Redbox owner Coinstar posted weak quarterly revenue and cut its full-year outlook as growth in its DVD business slowed, and fresh fruit producer Chiquita Brands beat analysts estimates thank to cost cutting but cut its full-year forecast due to the lower euro.

Also in the basket:

Callebaut CEO says dislikes speculators, respects Armajaro-FT

Avis ups the ante in bidding war for Dollar Thrifty

American Apparel says auditor Deloitte resigned

United Natural, Whole Foods in asset deal

(Reuters photo)

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