Vail Resorts FY 4Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Vail Resorts’ (MTN) CEO Rob Katz on FY Q4 2015 Results

Not seeing any softening in consumer

“I mean again at this point, we are not seeing any softening in consumer interest. I think we had a fairly strong summer season as well. I did not see that – we are not seeing that in our bookings or in our pass sales.”

We’re better positioned than the rest of the industry because they are dealing with demand and supply, we aren’t dealing with supply

I think one of the benefits that we have obviously is other parts of the travel industry one of the things they are struggling with is not just the demand side, but the supply side. And so as people build new rooms obviously that starts to bring down some of their metrics and one of the benefits we have right now is that there has not been any new supply added to the mountain resort industry”

Tahoe down, but less than expected. Bay Area economy there is still strong

“in Tahoe where I think obviously we had more modest expectations, because of the snowfall last year, I think even though we are seeing declines, they are less than what we would have expected, which I think reflects the commitment and the loyalty that people have there, I am sure reflects in part the fact that there is an expectation at this point that this season could be relatively strong. But I think skiers and riders out in that market Bay Area the economy there is still strong. I think they know that in a huge season they want to have that pass and they want to have that connection and I think we are seeing that play out right now.”

Interestingly, Mexico has been the most resilient market to currency shifts (perhaps used to it?)

“what I would say is obviously the U.S. dollar is strong versus almost every market. So I think it impacts every market. I think we – but how that translates into advanced bookings has been we have seen differences. So I think with Canada and the UK obviously little bit more price sensitive guests. And I would say that we are seeing more sluggish bookings from those two markets, more sluggish pass sales in those two markets. And yet we are seeing strength in the Mexican market. So I can’t really quantify that, because we don’t give specific details on individual markets. But I would say, it’s not that surprising to us. I think when we have talked about currency in the past, I think we have said that we felt broadly the Latin American market was more resilient, a little bit more protected I think from some of those gyrations where I think certainly Canada and the UK and even Australia is more impacted by them.”

Didn’t see much impact from economic weakness in Australia

” think the currency impact is probably the bigger one. Candidly, we are not seeing the – yet we are not seeing or can’t pick out I would say the impact of the Australian economy in the numbers that we are seeing. I would also say that obviously the economy over the winter in Australia, which was July and August we saw pretty strong results at Perisher and did not see any impact from any kind of economic sluggishness in Australia.”

Michael Barkin – Chief Financial Officer

The US economy remains robust, especially for upper income travelers

“The U.S. economy remains robust, particularly for domestic upper income vacation travelers who produce over 85% of our destination visitation. We have seen strong demand for the upcoming season with the successful season pass sales to-date and from lodging bookings, which have been strong across our resorts.”

Blackberry 2Q15 Earnings Call Notes

CEO John Chen

We continue to lead in mobile security

“The key takeaway here is really that we continue to lead in mobile security and now we are bringing the BlackBerry security know-how into the Android ecosystems. As a result, we believe we can address a larger and growing segment of the enterprise space and we believe we could be a leader in this space.”

Directly addressing analyst research

“I need to clarify two misperceptions from reading the research notes from our Good announcement.”

Discussion of contract manufacturers taking on “unique parts exposure”

” we have both arrangements. We have ones that we will take inventory, or at least parts — I call it the unique parts exposure. Then we have one that we don’t, as you well know. So this, of course, will continue, whether it’s an Android device or a BlackBerry 10 device. So there’s no difference here.”

We’ve stabilized cash flow, now we have to stabilize revenue

“Remember, we all said about a year ago, we were talking about stabilizing the company, the business, and focusing on cash flow from operation. I think we have accomplished that. This year, as we said, we’re going to stabilize the revenue, and unfortunately, we have a really low point here. But we do expect Q3 to level up and maybe even up a little bit, and then Q4 to go up from that level, and as I pointed out, I think we are all very focused on one key psychological win which is our software revenue eventually will cover these — the growth will cover the decline of the SAF and those two equations will converge, maybe that’s a way to put it. And that we expect in Q4.”

We’re still on plan

“We have some very exciting products that we are developing in house here. We haven’t seen the full impact of our IoT investment and that will come. So yes, I’m still on my plan.”


CFO

Changing some financial reporting

“Before I dive into our details, as you probably noticed, we are changing our non-GAAP income statement presentation to exclude purchase accounting deferred revenue write-down, stock based compensation expense, and amortization of purchased or acquired intangibles as part of the M&A transactions.”

Nike FY 1Q16 Earnings Call Notes

New CFO

” Before I move into a discussion on our business, I want to take a moment to introduce our new Chief Financial Officer Andy Campion. As you know, Don Blair retired from the CFO role as of July 31. ”

14% currency neutral revenue growth. 23% EPS growth

“NIKE Inc. revenues grew 5% to $8.4 billion, despite significant FX headwinds. On a currency neutral basis, NIKE Inc. revenues grew 14%. Gross margin expanded 90 basis points to 47.5% and earnings per share increased 23% to $1.34.”

Ecommerce revenue up 46%

“revenue for e-commerce business. It’s up an incredible 46% on a constant currency basis, with robust growth across all of our geographies”

Relentless focus on innovation

” Our obsession with speed has driven us for years, so we never settle, always looking to shave off that extra second. This relentless focus on innovation can be seen in the momentum of our Zoom Air technology”

Mindful of economic volatility in China, but focused on what we can control

“the brand in China is extremely strong. And that’s a piece that we have known for a while. As we went through the reset strategy, we wanted to be really focused on how to make sure that we could drive the Business. So, we’re very mindful of the macroeconomic volatility in the marketplace. But we continue to really focus on the things that we can control which is how we continue to bring excitement to the marketplace and also continue to align the marketplace around our category offense and we’re seeing success from that perspective.”

Inventory still elevated thanks to port issue

“demand for our products continues to be very strong in the marketplace. What we’re working through is the impact of the west coast port congestion from earlier this year. And what we have done is we have seen the actual flow of product from the port normalize. At the same time, we’re working to efficiently clear the excess inventory to keep the in-line channel healthy.”

Europe is an example of complete offense working

“I will just quickly add, we’re seeing incredible brand strength, too, across the major cities across Europe. And I think that is helping as well. The product that we’ve been introducing to the market has resonated — sell-throughs are strong. Western Europe is a great example of a complete offense, not just the category offense working, but the complete offense. So, we really feel good about executing across the categories up and down the price point spectrum and across the major channels as well. e-commerce”

The Jordan brand can transcend basketball

“I want to add, Jordan is a tremendous brand globally. It’s not just a subset of NIKE basketball. It’s a stand-alone brand with tremendous potential to resonate beyond basketball as a category. So, it’s largely been basketball-based and that will always be the core of the Jordan brand. With that though, we see tremendous opportunity to expand that brand, not just here in North America, but around the world.”

The Olympics are great for the world, but especially for Nike

“Clearly, the Olympics are a great sport moment for the world, but certainly for NIKE. These global events at this scale, the Olympics and the World Cup really stand above and beyond all sports events. And for us, there’s an opportunity to really bring our best product, the best innovation, our best storytelling out, serve the athletes at the highest level.”

Bed Bath and Beyond 2Q15 Earnings Call Notes

CEO Steven Temares

Physical stores remain central to serving our customers

“As our digital and physical channels continue to converge, the physical stores remain central to serving our customers and provide us a tremendous opportunity to be close to them. The ability to consult with our knowledgeable and solutions-oriented sales associates coupled with our in-store services, encourage customers to visit and spend time in our stores. Options such as reserve online, pickup in-store, buy online and return to store and online appointment scheduling highlight various points of interactions we have with our customers across our channels.”

Promote from within

” our success is first and foremost because of our people. We believe in a meritocracy, and we significantly promote from within.”

high quality service during important life events

“We have earned the reputation for providing high quality service during important life-stage events, such as getting married, having a baby and going to college.”

Expanding into other categories

“Our newer merchandise category such as furniture, mattresses, jewelry, watches and luggage are continuing to gain recognition with all our customers and we are steadily adding new brand to the assortment.”

Pier 1 2Q16 Earnings call Notes

Alex Smith – President and CEO

Not happy with 2Q; inventory issues

“looking at the business from a high-level perspective, we’re not happy with our second quarter earnings. Our principle frustration centers around the ongoing inventory related issues impacting our business.”

Cause of problems going away, but fallout continues

“inventories are now down year-over-year. So the cause of our problems is going away, but the fallout continues and we expect it to continue to be the case for the balance of the year.”

Ecommerce 17% of sales

“E-commerce represented 17% of sales in the quarter highlighted by continued increases in online traffic conversion and average ticket.”

Will continue to feel effects of inventory the remainder of the year

“Suffice it to say, we will continue to feel the effects of our elevated inventory levels, the remainder of this year. This is particularly frustrating and we are disappointed about the impact it’s having on our margins and profitability. Nevertheless, we have substantially reduced inventory growth since the beginning of fiscal ’16 which puts us on the path through improvements.”

Numbers are being dragged down by clearance

“I think this is just an interesting perspective as well for you. If we look at the achieved margin on our mark down merchandise and if we look at the achieved margin in our full price merchandise and our achieved margin on our promotional merchandise, those numbers really are rock solid compared with previous years. What has changed is the mix so we’re selling less full price at the full margin and a little less promotional and a lot more clearance and that’s really what drag the number down.”

A lot of this is self inflicted

“So if you’re asking in terms of your question I think a lot of this is sell-inflected in one way or another.”

Competition is more intense than it was 4-5 years ago

“you’re absolutely right the competition is certainly more intense than it was four or five years ago with some smaller chains rolling out nationally and the pure e-com players that you referenced. And all those guys take some sales, but that doesn’t in anyway get the quality of our market position and all the qualities on merchandise. ”

You have to be on your game all the time in this environment

“So listen you’ve got to be – in this sort of environment you got to be on your game all the time. Your product has to be spot on, your marketing has to be spot on, but I don’t see any weakness in what we’re doing.”


Jeff Boyer – EVP and CFO

Sales growth below expectations

“Total sales in the second quarter increased 2.7% to $430 million, while company comps increased 2.5%. On a constant currency basis, total sales were up 4% and company comps were up 3.8%. This was below what we had expected and primary reflects the discipline in outdoor season that Alex discussed previously.”

Not a promotional issue, an inventory issue

“we aren’t going deeper on the promotional intensity. This isn’t a matter of going deeper on the offers. We had more clearance inventory”


Laura Coffey – EVP of Planning and Allocations

Wont give margin on ecommerce sales, but have said that it’s higher margin that store sale

“And I think what we have said consistently Denise, is that the contribution from operations level or fulfilled sales has a higher margin than the store sale and we’ve been very consistent on that and that’s been the story as how that fulfilled sale percentage grows, it will over time move that contribution from operations up. There is really no change in that, that’s still the case.”

Company Notes Digest 9.25.15

Each week we read dozens of transcripts from earnings calls and presentations as part of our investment process. Below is a weekly post which contains some of the most important quotes about the economy and industry trends from those transcripts. Click here to receive these posts weekly via email.

The Macro Outlook:

Jamie Dimon doesn’t want to talk about the Fed

“It’s a lot of chatter about nothing. I don’t want to add to that chatter. Let the Fed decide when they want to raise rates and wherever I go I ask businesses, consumers, small business, large business, will it affect you if rates go 25 basis points? I haven’t found anyone who says, Oh my god… it’s a psychological thing, folks. It’s not a economic thing” —JP Morgan (Bank)

This isn’t even a real tightening

“it’s not really in my opinion tightening. They could raise rates – tightening in the old days meant you’re taking cash out of the system…The reserve banking doesn’t exist anymore because all those reserves bank…are not required under old reserve requirements, they required an LCR…they can set IOER, which the rate they pay us if rates go immediately there and it’s not necessarily taking money out.” —JP Morgan (Bank)

While Dimon has a point, we’re still going to parse what Yellen said this week:

The Fed gets that there’s uncertainty and they could wait to raise rates

“Given the highly uncertain nature of the outlook, one might ask: Why not hold off raising the federal funds rate until the economy has reached full employment and inflation is actually back at 2 percent?” —Federal Reserve (Central Bank)

But monetary policy affects the economy with a lag and they don’t want to have to slam on the brakes

“The difficulty with this strategy is that monetary policy affects real activity and inflation with a substantial lag. If the FOMC were to delay the start of the policy normalization process for too long, we would likely end up having to tighten policy relatively abruptly to keep the economy from significantly overshooting both of our goals. Such an abrupt tightening would risk disrupting financial markets and perhaps even inadvertently push the economy into recession” —Federal Reserve (Central Bank)

They also don’t want to encourage excessive risk taking in financial markets

“In addition, continuing to hold short-term interest rates near zero well after real activity has returned to normal and headwinds have faded could encourage excessive leverage and other forms of inappropriate risk-taking that might undermine financial stability.” —Federal Reserve (Central Bank)

So they are going to raise rates this year

“For these reasons, the more prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace, adjusting policy as needed in light of incoming data.” —Federal Reserve (Central Bank)

Listening to companies, there is evidence to support the Fed’s position

Homebuilders are facing a very tight labor market

“labor has also become a limiting factor. The slow and steady recovery in housing did not signal to the labor market that it was time to come back to work in the sector, and many found work elsewhere. Today, the entire labor market has tightened and rapid growth in housing production will be limited by available labor.” —Lennar (Homebuilder)

Darden cited wage pressure as well

“Wage pressure continues to be a problem. We will continue to monitor it, as we monitor the different states and the different cities and what they are doing with minimum wage. The job market is improving. We are seeing in certain markets today, becoming a little bit more difficult to hire help. So that will eventually put some pressure on our average wage. But right now, I believe that we are managing this very-very effectively.” —Darden (Restaurants)

There are also signs of excessive risk taking: US Bank’s CEO called out some “remarkably bad behavior” in CRE markets

“There is some remarkably bad behavior in long term 10 year deal and in some of the non-recourse deals and I’m telling you, I’m calling it out it’s a worry and I’m saying commercial real estate in certain markets” —US Bank (Bank)

So far financial market volatility doesn’t seem to be impacting the real economy

Factset hasn’t seen financial services companies pull back on hiring

“We haven’t really seen any of that indication we clearly stay close to our clients throughout this volatility. It is felt still fairly healthy as we look at the sell-side graduating classes that we just saw were reasonably healthy, and attrition rates were nothing of know so, we haven’t seen anything that alarms us in that space so far.” —Factset (Financial Data)

Carnival hasn’t seen order rates impacted by the stock market

“We did not see any falloff in demand related to stock market or general economic fluctuations, none whatsoever.” —Carnival (Cruise Line)

Still, Accenture feels like the macro risk has clicked up a notch or two recently

“I think, when we look at the macro environment in general, relative to where we were 90 days ago, I would say, relative to where we were at this time last year, the volatility and risk in the macro environment has clicked up a notch or two, and so that’s a factor then.” —Accenture (Enterprise Tech)

And this kind of story makes markets sound very unhealthy:

“in April of 2015, we moved our $3 billion student loan portfolio…into the held for sale with the intent to sell the portfolio…in the early months of our being out to bid…one of the largest rating agencies started downgrade a couple of the FFELP portfolios and then others started to follow. The pricing margin started to gap and in the very two weeks we’re in the market getting the bids, I even use a phrase that isn’t official but the market broke, there literally wasn’t bids” —US Bank (Bank)

International:

Companies are forecasting continued earnings impact from currency

“For the full fiscal year ’16, based upon how the rates have been trending over the last few weeks, we currently assume the impact of FX on our results in USD will be negative 4% compared to fiscal ’15.” —Accenture (Enterprise Tech)

“obviously the U.S. dollar strengthens, the Canadian dollars, the A dollars, the Euro, the Brazilian Real. So yeah we see more of a headwind on our reported results from currency.” —General Mills (Packaged Food)

Financials:

On the whole, commercial banks have been very well behaved this cycle

“The last crisis obviously the heart of it, the nucleus, was mortgages in the banking system…that was the corruption that caused the whole crisis. I don’t see anything like that in banks, zero, nada, nothing, zilch.” —JP Morgan (Bank)

That makes most bankers optimistic about credit quality

“credit hasn’t been talked about for a while and frankly won’t be for a while.” —US Bank (Bank)

The one thing that Jamie Dimon worries about a little is treasury markets

“the one thing I do worry about a little bit by the way is treasuries…Anyone into this business since 2006 has never seen interest rates go up…And the biggest buyers of treasuries were central banks, foreign exchange managers effectively and banks. And all three of those are going to reverse. So I wouldn’t be shocked to see 10-year treasury rates…go up much faster than people think. I’m not predicting that, I’m simply saying in the back of mind, I think that’s a possibility and we will be prepared for that” —JP Morgan (Bank)

Bank of America is now focused on growth

“The good news is [litigation] is largely behind us and we’re pivoted to focus solely on responsible growth…We have to grow, no excuses. We’ve had hundreds of billions of dollars of run off of assets, businesses risk that we’ve taken out of this company, but the reality is now we got to grow through all that.” —Bank of America (Bank)

Consumer:

Consumers are increasingly shopping online for items that you may not have expected, like cars and food

“We’ve definitely seen the sentiment shift where customers are looking to do more and more research, more and more pieces of the transaction from home, and in some cases the entire transaction from home” —Carmax (Used Cars)

“U.S. food sales that are going through online are between 1% and 2%. Now that’s changing pretty quickly, meaning moving from 1% to 2%. If you said what does it look like out four or five years ahead, all the projections I’ve seen are in the 5% to 6% range. So it’s going to be a high growth area.” —General Mills (Packaged Food)

People don’t even want to interact with waiters anymore

“We also continued the roll out of our table-top tablets. The tablets are now on more than half of our restaurants, with 80% of the tables choosing to interact with the devices in those restaurants. We continue to see the same benefits, as we saw during the tests, higher add-on sales, faster dining times, and overall higher guest satisfaction scores. We are pleased with the progress of the rollout, and we expect to complete it by the end of the second quarter.” —Darden (Olive Garden)

Kids are reading more books than adults

“According to a study released this June by the Association of American Publishers…the size of the children and young adult market surpassed the adult market for the first time, with children’s and YA selling at 843 million units to 746 million units for adults” —Scholastic (Publishing)

At least low gas prices are getting Americans out of the house

“As new vehicle sales are reaching all-time highs and gas prices on average are down year-over-year, vehicle miles driven continue to increase. This trend is encouraging.” —Autozone (Auto Parts Retail)

Technology:

Sprint says that it is disrupting the way telecom networks are constructed

“the way we’re building our network is not a traditional way it’s a disruptive way. We are not buying equipment from your traditional OEM and we’re not going to a traditional tower companies so which both are quite expensive. We have found a combination of newer vendors…It’s a disruptive way. It’s a very different way” —Sprint (Telecom)

Materials, Industrials, Energy:

Houston’s housing market is starting to show signs of deterioration at the high end

“I would say that the Houston market is still overall a pretty decent market… if you look at that, it hasn’t been across all price points. The lower price points, let’s say, sub-$300,000, $350,000 are performing pretty well. It’s just when you get up in that $350,000-plus, the price point sales has been impacted and have slowed.” —Lennar (Homebuilder)

“We are seeing some softening at higher price points in Houston above 350,000.” —KB Home (Homebuilder)

Carnival doesn’t have any plans to change its fuel hedging strategy amid lower oil prices

“at this point wouldn’t have any particular plans to change but we review it constantly” —Carnival (Cruise Line)

The mining industry can only recover once supply and demand come into balance

“The bearish tone was the reality. So, if we look out to the markets that we’re seeing prices are resultant of the supply and demand situation. So, if we have to wait for a pricing to move something has got to happen with the supply or the demand…looking at our various commodities around the world, there is an oversupply of the commodities through this huge ramp-up in commodities in the previous cycle. That’s got to be worked through.” —Joy Global (Mining Equipment)

Dry Bulk fleets are finally shrinking

“a very high demolition rate is further reflecting ship supply. More specially, in 2015, the Capesize scrapping activity has exceeded 2013 and 2014 combined, which is almost 13 million deadweight tons year-to-date. The substantial reduction of the order book as well as the accelerated scrapping activity has finally led to negative fleet growth year-to-date in 2015.” —Seanergy (Dry Bulk Shipping)

Miscellaneous Nuggets of Wisdom:

Don’t run your business focusing on expenses

“We don’t run the business that way and they are not expense initiatives. We run the business that you think the way you want to do, you invest what you got to invest, you built the systems you need, you open the branches you need.” —JP Morgan (Bank)

“We never focused on efficiency [ratio] as a goal…It’s never been a goal but it’s an outcome. It’s an outcome that usually gets better because we grow revenue faster than expenses” —US Bank (Bank)

Good execution beats good strategy

“While we study the external environment and react where appropriate, we must stay committed to executing day-in and day-out on our game plan. Success will be achieved with an attention to detail and exceptional execution.” —Autozone (Auto Parts Retailer)

Full transcripts can be found at www.seekingalpha.com

KB Home 3Q15 Earnings Call Notes

KB Home saw some softening at higher price point houses in Houston

“There’s been lot of media coverage relative to the price of oil impacting the economy and housing in Houston. And we can report that our absorption rate per community was basically flat year-over-year. Due to the severe weather in this spring, we did delay openings in Houston into our fourth quarter as well. We are seeing some softening at higher price points in Houston above 350,000.”

Higher labor costs are offsetting the benefits from lower raw material costs

“On the direct cost side, what we’re seeing, we’re actually seeing some favorability in a few of the material categories. I mean, lumber is down pretty significantly; oil cost, gasoline prices are down, that’s reducing travel and transportation for the materials et cetera in some of the other inputs. A lot of the commodities are down. So most of the pressure has been on the labor side and I’d say the labor cost have offset a lot of the other base material cost.”

Demand is starting to recover in the inland empire

“It’s a fairly typical recovery pattern. As prices move up on the coast, people get as close to the coast as they can and buy where they can afford it. So the western end of what we call the Inland Empire, the western side of Riverside and San Bernardino that commutes to work in LA or Orange County has stronger demand and less supply than the far eastern side of those two counties.”

Even Sacramento is picking up, not just commuting from the Bay

“the same thing is going on up in the Bay Area. I mentioned in my prepared comments we’re actually seeing Sacramento gaining momentum in their recovery and it’s not – that one is not necessarily a Bay Area commuter. They’re not going all the way to Sacramento, but you have a local economy that seems to be improving and demand building due to income growth and a lack of inventory. So you have a combination of things going on. I think the underlying supply and demand in those markets is better and you’re seeing a little ripple come out from the coast.”

Janet Yellen September 24, 2015 Speech Notes

Prospects for economy are generally solid

“prospects for the U.S. economy generally appear solid. Monthly payroll gains have averaged close to 210,000 since the start of the year and the overall economy has been expanding modestly faster than its productive potential. My colleagues and I, based on our most recent forecasts, anticipate that this pattern will continue and that labor market conditions will improve further as we head into 2016.”

May need to push unemployment rate beyond what would be consistent with 2% inflation

“Reducing slack along these other dimensions may involve a temporary decline in the unemployment rate somewhat below the level that is estimated to be consistent, in the longer run, with inflation stabilizing at 2 percent.”

The real fed funds rate is below a level that would be consistent with normal real gdp growth

“First, the real federal funds rate is currently somewhat below the level that would be consistent with real GDP expanding in line with potential, which implies that the unemployment rate is likely to continue to fall in the absence of some tightening. Second, participants implicitly expect that the various headwinds to economic growth that I mentioned earlier will continue to fade, thereby boosting the economy’s underlying strength. ”

We still believe that we will raise rates for Fed funds this year and then continue boosting after that

“Combined, these two judgments imply that the real interest rate consistent with achieving and then maintaining full employment in the medium run should rise gradually over time. This expectation, coupled with inherent lags in the response of real activity and inflation to changes in monetary policy, are the key reasons that most of my colleagues and I anticipate that it will likely be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate sometime later this year and to continue boosting short-term rates at a gradual pace thereafter as the labor market improves further and inflation moves back to our 2 percent objective.”

The timing of increases will be dependent on the economy

“As I noted, most of my colleagues and I anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant raising short-term interest rates at a quite gradual pace over the next few years. It’s important to emphasize, however, that both the timing of the first rate increase and any subsequent adjustments to our federal funds rate target will depend on how developments in the economy influence the Committee’s outlook for progress toward maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.”

Why not hold off raising rates? Because monetary policy lags and if we wait to long we may have to tighten quickly and inappropriate risk taking might develop

“Given the highly uncertain nature of the outlook, one might ask: Why not hold off raising the federal funds rate until the economy has reached full employment and inflation is actually back at 2 percent? The difficulty with this strategy is that monetary policy affects real activity and inflation with a substantial lag. If the FOMC were to delay the start of the policy normalization process for too long, we would likely end up having to tighten policy relatively abruptly to keep the economy from significantly overshooting both of our goals. Such an abrupt tightening would risk disrupting financial markets and perhaps even inadvertently push the economy into recession. In addition, continuing to hold short-term interest rates near zero well after real activity has returned to normal and headwinds have faded could encourage excessive leverage and other forms of inappropriate risk-taking that might undermine financial stability. For these reasons, the more prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace, adjusting policy as needed in light of incoming data.”

“we have not yet fully attained our objectives under the dual mandate: Some slack remains in labor markets, and the effects of this slack and the influence of lower energy prices and past dollar appreciation have been significant factors keeping inflation below our goal. But I expect that inflation will return to 2 percent over the next few years as the temporary factors that are currently weighing on inflation wane, provided that economic growth continues to be strong enough to complete the return to maximum employment and long-run inflation expectations remain well anchored. Most FOMC participants, including myself, currently anticipate that achieving these conditions will likely entail an initial increase in the federal funds rate later this year, followed by a gradual pace of tightening thereafter.”

Miscellaneous Earnings Call Notes 9.24.15

So many different factors affecting gross margins

H&M CFO

“There are so many different factors affecting our gross margins as we have been talking — it’s like 20, 25 different factors affecting the gross margin. And we don’t want to elaborate and go into each of these. We give you some major factors behind it those four, five macro factors that we have been talking about. But otherwise, we don’t want to elaborate what the gross margin is built up. And we understand that you’re keen to know but we respect we don’t want to give it away to our competitors. We don’t have any patterns. So we really want to speak that and have that information for us, only for us. Sorry.”

Children’s book market surpassed adult market for the first time ever

Scholastic CEO

“According to a study released this June by the Association of American Publishers, the children’s books segment exhibited the strongest growth among any segment in the trade category in 2014. The study also showed that the size of the children and young adult market surpassed the adult market for the first time, with children’s and YA selling at 843 million units to 746 million units for adults; although, adult books usually fetch a higher price per unit. This data supports the trends that we’re seeing ourselves in our engagements with schools and families; our belief that the strong market dynamics and focus on independent reading will continue to support company-wide growth.”

Book publisher monetizing NYC real estate

Scholastic CFO

“While the Company has no immediate need for cash, we understand that there’s substantial investor interest in our plans to monetize our real estate holdings in New York City. The Soho real estate market is vibrant and interest in our property from real estate investors, retail partners and traditional commercial mortgage lenders remain high. We expect to announce a plan by our second quarter earnings call in December. We’re beginning construction on the new retail site this November.”

Obviously benefit of strong dollar is lower costs elsewhere

Scholastic CEO

” We have a major effort within the Company to do global sourcing of our print product. Obviously, the positive side of the strong U.S. dollar is the lower costs elsewhere. So we’re shifting our printing to lower cost areas, particularly looking at India and other areas in Asia.”

Dry bulk fleet growing at 0-1% could balance supply/demand

Seanergy CEO

” a very high demolition rate is further reflecting ship supply. More specially, in 2015, the Capesize scrapping activity has exceeded 2013 and 2014 combined, which is almost 13 million deadweight tons year-to-date. The substantial reduction of the order book as well as the accelerated scrapping activity has finally led to negative fleet growth year-to-date in 2015. It is, therefore, expected that the net dry bulk fleet growth will be approximately zero to 1% in 2015, after growing only 4.4% in 2014. This is a record low as compared to the historical 10-year compounded fleet growth of 9% and more importantly, a historical seaborne trade growth on a compounded basis of 5.6% from 2004 until 2014. Based on these factors we believe that in the next three years, the market will likely lead to tonnage shortfall and a tightening utilization environment. As a result, we expect an upward trend in saturates and asset values.”

All about execution

Autozone CEO

“To execute at a high level, we have to consistently adhere to living the pledge. We cannot and will not take our eye of off execution. While we study the external environment and react where appropriate, we must stay committed to executing day-in and day-out on our game plan. Success will be achieved with an attention to detail and exceptional execution.”

Haven’t seen weakness in China, US on track

Steelcase: Jim Keane – President, Chief Executive Officer

“So far, we have seen no signs of weakness in our Chinese order patterns from our pipeline. The US market is on track to meet our initial growth expectations for the year because of both traditional drivers of demand and the continuing need for companies to update their spaces.”

Manufacturing listed as strong sector, Info tech listed as weak

Steelcase: Dave Sylvester – Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President

“Across vertical markets in the Americas, order growth rates were highest in the manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare sectors, while order declines were most significant in the state and local government and energy sectors. Information technology, federal government and insurance also declined, but by modest percentages.”

Accenture 4Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Pierre Nanterme – Chairman and CEO

Competitive environment pretty stable

“We’ve not seen much change in the competitive environment. I think the competition is quite well established in the different businesses we’re operating in from the consulting and strategy with the usual players. Then, you have the technology with the other players and then of course operations, different part of our business. So I guess, the environment is pretty stable with some, I mean, winners and losers and we are investing and driving our business to be part of the winners. But not much to say around the competitive environment, it’s still the usual suspects.”

David Rowland – CFO

Expecting another 4% hit from FX in ’16

“Starting with the first quarter of fiscal ’16, we expect revenues to be in the range of $7.7 billion to $7.95 billion. This assumes the impact of FX will be a negative 8.5% compared to the first quarter of fiscal ’15 and reflects an estimated 6% to 9% growth in local currency. For the full fiscal year ’16, based upon how the rates have been trending over the last few weeks, we currently assume the impact of FX on our results in USD will be negative 4% compared to fiscal ’15.”

Making acquisitions for new capabilities, better expertise and more scale

” we are doing acquisitions for three reasons. I mean, the first one is to accelerate access to capabilities in the new and what we’re calling the new at Accenture is now the combination of digital services, cloud services, security services, all new technologies, if you will, such as cognitive computing, automation, or artificial intelligence. Second is to have access to very deep industry expertise, especially in consulting that is the rational for acquisition of Axia, Javelin, companies consulting deep structure iTRAK, either deep industry expertise in upstream energy in retail. That’s the reason — that’s number two. And the number three would be to scale faster to take the leadership position in the marketplace and by leadership, we mean the Number 1.”

Risk in the macro environment has clicked up a notch or two

“I think, when we look at the macro environment in general, relative to where we were 90 days ago, I would say, relative to where we were at this time last year, the volatility and risk in the macro environment has clicked up a notch or two, and so that’s a factor then.”