The trading boom is slowing down. JPMorgan on Friday said its quarterly profit dropped 14%, and Citigroup’s fourth-quarter profit fell 26% as both Wall Street giants reported falling trading revenue. Wild markets powered trading revenue and banks’ profits throughout the pandemic, but executives have said they expect a further retreat toward 2019 levels in coming months. Despite the slowdown, JPMorgan notched a record for annual profit in 2021. JPMorgan shares lost 6.2% Friday.
A big player in the videogame world is expanding its reach. Take-Two agreed to buy Zynga Inc. in a roughly $11 billion deal as the company looks to expand its mobile portfolio with hits like “Words With Friends” and “FarmVille.” The cash-and-stock deal announced Monday is one of the industry’s biggest acquisitions. Take-Two is best known for its computer and console game franchises such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “NBA 2K.” Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said that the combined company will have more than a billion users, creating an opportunity to cross-promote content to a broader audience. The deal is expected to close by midyear. Take-Two shares fell 13% Monday.
Lululemon’s operations are getting stretched thin, thanks to Omicron. The athletic-apparel maker said its fourth-quarter results will be toward the low end of previous estimates, citing staffing and capacity constraints caused by the Covid-19 variant. The Omicron variant dented its in-person sales and led to reduced operating hours in some places last month. Since early 2020, Lululemon benefited from the decline of in-person work as shoppers traded khakis and dresses for sweatpants and T-shirts. As with other retailers, Lululemon also has benefited from a surge in online ordering during the pandemic. Lululemon shares declined 1.9% Monday.
Production issues are still a drag on Boeing. The plane maker sold more aircraft than Airbus SE last year but delivered half as many passenger jets, marking the third straight year that Boeing has trailed its rival on deliveries, according to data released Tuesday. Boeing remains hampered with the crisis that engulfed its 737 MAX and production problems with its 787 Dreamliner. Boeing has built up an inventory of more than 100 undelivered Dreamliners as it addresses various manufacturing issues and seeks regulatory approvals. Boeing shares added 3.2% Tuesday.
Albertsons bagged higher profits despite the latest Covid surge. The supermarket operator said its stores benefited from strong vaccine demand and higher pricing for groceries, lifting profits and sales for the company’s latest quarter. Worries over the spread of Omicron drove more consumers to the chain’s pharmacies for vaccinations and over-the-counter tests, which helped the company create repeat customers and increase pharmacy and grocery sales. However, escalating Covid infections put stress on Albertsons’ supply chain as more workers called out sick. Executives said the chain expects to see more supply challenges in the next four to six weeks. Albertsons shares lost 9.8% Tuesday.
Monster is making a splash as it enters the buzzy booze market. The company, best known for its namesake energy drinks, said on Thursday it had struck a deal to buy craft-beer and hard-seltzer company CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective LLC for $330 million. Monster is the latest big soft-drink company to try its hand at alcoholic beverages, as soda makers and alcohol companies move onto one another’s turf seeking to spur growth. Coca-Cola Co. plans to launch canned cocktails under the Fresca soda brand; PepsiCo Inc. will roll out an alcoholic version of Mountain Dew; and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA will introduce a line of Bud Light-branded hard soda this month. Monster shares added 0.4% Thursday.
Delta Air Lines Inc.
Omicron added unexpected turbulence to Delta’s recent quarter. The carrier reported a quarterly loss amid the most recent Covid surge, as the spread of the variant upended what was expected to be a smooth and lucrative holiday travel season. Airlines canceled over 30,000 U.S. flights between Christmas Eve and Jan. 11, as Covid infections ravaged airline workforces, and winter storms further derailed operations in many parts of the country. With high volumes of passengers, Delta struggled to manage surging rates of sick calls by staff and challenging weather. The company said it expects Omicron to delay demand recovery by 60 days. Delta shares rose 2.1% Thursday.
Write to Francesca Fontana at [email protected]
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