Major benchmarks continued rebounding from jitters over trade and economic weakness on Monday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.71%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.51%) posted broad-based gains. The energy sector led the market as crude oil futures rose 2.5%, with technology and Chinese stocks performing strongly as well.
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Healthy China sales lift up Estee Lauder's results
Cosmetics company Estee Lauder announced a strong fiscal fourth quarter and upbeat guidance for next year, and shares soared 12.5%. Net sales grew 9% to $3.59 billion, topping expectations for $3.53 billion. Earnings per share fell 14% to $0.43, but excluding adjustments increased 5% to $0.64, exceeding analyst estimates of $0.53.
Strong sales in China boosted the company's results in Asia, making up for weakness in the Americas. For the full year, and adjusting for currency and an accounting change, net sales in Asia-Pacific were up 25%. On the same basis, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa grew sales 18%, while sales in the Americas declined 4%. Estee Lauder's skin care business, its largest segment, grew 21%, while makeup saw 7% growth and fragrance sales increased 2%.
A growing middle class in emerging markets is providing a tailwind for Estee Lauder. The company expects continued sales gains and cost discipline to result in a healthy jump in profit in 2020, forecasting adjusted full-year EPS between $5.90 and $5.98, a gain of 10% to 12% and above the $5.81 analyst consensus.
Aurora Cannabis pushes ahead with CBD strategy
Canadian marijuana specialist Aurora Cannabis announced that it has completed its purchase of Hempco Food and Fiber and is creating an internal operating unit for executing its hemp strategy. Shares slumped 2.5%.
The Hempco acquisition was announced in April, with Aurora buying shares of the company it didn't already own and valuing Hempco at about $48 million. Hempco grows hemp for fiber, oil, protein powder, and food products, selling Planet Hemp food products and Praise pet supplements to retail outlets. Aurora's focus, though, is on access to a supply of low-cost, high-volume raw hemp material for extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids.
The new business unit is called Aurora Hemp and combines Hempco with Agropro and Borela, Europe's largest organic hemp company and its distributor, along with a hemp business in Latin America and acquisitions for high-volume production and testing of extracts. Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz signed on with Aurora earlier this year as a strategic advisor, and consumer products for the budding U.S market for CBD are clearly in his crosshairs.