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American Express saw billing growth slow to 6% in July, probably because of a sluggish global economy, though a stronger dollar means the reported figure could turn out to be a bit higher than that. Retailers plan to move ahead with a proposed $7.2 billion settlement with Visa
Coca-Cola Bottling, the largest independent U.S. Coke bottler, announced that sales rose 4.9%, largely because of higher prices, but earnings declined on lower gross and operating margins. CEO and Chairman J. Frank Harrison III said raw-materials costs weren't as bad as expected. One (minor) up-and-coming innovation: Coke is pilot-testing adding rum, tequila, vodka, and Jack Daniel's to some of its Atlanta Freestyle Coke dispensers. Stay tuned.
McDonald's reported the worst same-store sales figures in nine years for July, blaming the economy for weaker consumer spending. Although markets such as Latin America and Canada did all right, the U.S., Europe, and the geographically enormous Asia/Pacific/Middle East/Africa divisions all saw declining same-store sales, arguably the single most important metric for restaurant growth companies like McDonald's.
American Express, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's all lost to the market this week, but as investors it's also important for us to remember to keep our eyes on long-term performance. If you're looking for some stock ideas, The Motley Fool recently highlighted "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." You can get the full scoop on these three promising Dow dividend dynamos.